WHITLEY Bay suffered their heaviest defeat for some time when they were thumped 6-1 by FA Vase finalists and league leaders West Auckland on Tuesday evening.
But the scoreline did not tell half the story in what was a bitterly disappointing end to the season for the Seahorses.
Bay finished the game with nine men after Craig McFarlane and Chris Reid were both shown straight red cards.
The score was 0-0 when McFarlane was sent for an early bath following a challenge on Matthew Coad just after the half hour.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, it was Whitley who opened the scoring before half-time.
Paul Chow was pulled back in the back when he tried to get on the end of a ball across the face of goal.
The referee pointed to the spot and Chow picked himself up to put the spot kick to the keeper’s right.
But before half-time the visitors were reduced to nine men when Reid was sent off for a trip on an Auckland player.
It came as no surprise when the home side made their advantage count.
John Campbell came off the bench and went on to score four second half goals as the title favourites romped to victory.
He levelled from the penalty spot before scoring direct from a free kick to put Auckland in front.
Micky Rae headed home a third before Campbell completed his hat-trick to make it 4-1.
A second penalty for Campbell – and a third spot kick of the night – made it 5-1 before Matthew Moffat completed the rout two minutes from time.
A disappointing end to the season for Whitley Bay, who for the last three seasons have been looking forward to an FA Vase final at Wembley.
As it is, West Auckland are preparing for a trip to the home of football, where they will meet fellow Northern League side Dunston UTS in the Vase final next month.
On Saturday, Auckland could also clinch the STL Northern League division one title with a win at Ashington.