WHITLEY Bay’s disappointing run continued on Saturday with another narrow defeat, this time at the hands of in-form Bedlington Terriers, who extended their unbeaten run to nine games.
There was not a great deal to choose between the sides, with limited scoring opportunities at both ends, but for the second game in a row, defensive mistakes cost the Seahorses the game.
Injuries, a suspension and unavailability meant that Whitley were without five first team regulars, while Bedlington’s options were also limited with a reduced squad.
There was a good crowd at Hillheads on what was a sunny and, after windy conditions in many recent games, a pleasantly calm afternoon.
After a quiet opening, Whitley’s first real chance came after 17 minutes when Paul Chow laid off a short pass to Lee Kerr whose first time effort cleared the bar to the relief of Terriers keeper Craig Pickering.
Two minutes later, Paul Robinson’s powerful 20-yard shot was parried then pushed over the bar by Pickering, and from the resulting corner, Robinson fired a shot high over the bar.
The Northern League’s top scorer Anthony Shandran was proving a handful for the Bay defence and midway through the half he went past Chris Reid on the right before drilling a low ball across goal which fortunately for Whitley went beyond the far post.
The Terriers were looking the sharper of the two sides with a number of passes going astray from Bay players, which put unnecessary pressure on the defence.
It was a misunderstanding in the back line which led to the opening goal when David Pounder’s back header saw Reid and Kyle Hayes hesitating and Shandran took full advantage, showing his predator’s instinct as he poked the ball home from about ten yards.
In a brief skirmish in midfield between Gary Ormston and Stuart Elliott, as the players battled for the ball, Elliott appeared to raise a hand to push Ormston away, but no action was taken.
Ten minutes after the interval, the Terriers doubled their lead when Stephen Harrison’s shot from the right looped up over Hayes as Craig McFarlane got in a tackle and the ball flew into the net, despite the efforts of Darren Timmons to keep it out.
Bowey was then denied by Hayes as the visitors tried to make the game safe, but soon afterwards Whitley were back in the contest after Kerr was pushed to the ground by Elliott after he went past the Bedlington man near the by-line just inside the left edge of the penalty area.
Chow took the spot kick and fired a powerful shot past Pickering for what was his 157th goal for the club on his 250th appearance.
The goal took him ahead of manager Ian Chandler into fourth place in the club’s all time scoring records.
Whitley stepped up a gear with more purpose and determination in their play.
Reid, spotting Pickering off his line, tried his luck with a long range shot from 40 yards which looked to be dipping under the bar but was pushed over the top by the rapidly back pedalling keeper.
Chris Carr headed over the Whitley bar following a free kick then in a quick break downfield after a Bay corner, Mark Convery was denied by Hayes, who then kept out a 20-yard shot from Harrison.
Whitley finished strongly, with Chow heading wide from Robinson’s cross and then the midfielder, who had worked tirelessly for Whitley, twice went close in stoppage time, firstly with a shot that was just off target then following good work by substitute Michael McMullen with an effort was blocked as the Terriers were more than happy to hold on and claim all three points.
Whitley Bay: Hayes, Williams, Pounder, Reid, Ormston (McMullen 56 mins), Timmons, McFarlane, Robson, Kerr, Chow, Robinson.