Whitley Bay’s reserve side brought silverware back to Hillheads on Wednesday night when they beat Blyth Town in the final of the Northumberland FA Les Todd Benevolent.
The game at Bowl at Whitley Park, Benton, brought together the top two sides in this season’s Northern Alliance premier division and lived up to expectations as a closely contested final.
Blyth had the majority of possession in the early stages but could not capitalise on their chances as Whitley Bay A took the lead on 16 minutes with their first real attempt on goal, Chris Bell firing home from the right edge of the Blyth penalty area.
Whitley refused to be put off their game by the physical approach of their opponents and came much more into the contest as the half progressed.
Twice they had to make goal line clearances to retain their advantage but were deservedly ahead at the interval.
After the break Blyth pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but Whitley were resolute in defence and created chances of their own.
Their second and decisive goal came after 70 minutes and was the result of an error by the Blyth keeper, who failed to collect a high ball played in from the left, leaving Bell with a simple tap in from almost on the line.
The set back seemed to knock the heart out of a tiring Blyth side and Whitley looked well in control of proceedings and might have added to their lead in the final quarter.
A moment of controversy late in the game came when the Blyth keeper raced off his line and handled the ball a yard outside his box. Following a lengthy consultation with his assistant, the referee only showed a yellow card and the resulting free kick was cleared to safety.
After six minutes of added time, Whitley were able to celebrate victory, a well deserved reward for the efforts of manager Marc Nash and his youthful squad over a much more experienced side who are destined to move up to the Northern League next season.
The sides will meet again on the final day of the season in what could well prove to be the league title decider.
That game is scheduled for Saturday, May 14, at Hillheads, kick-off 2.30pm.
Whitley Bay A: Hammond, Byerley, Redpath, Hall, Williams, Keltie, Potter, Johnson, Robertson, Bell, Brennan.