Whitley Bay travelled to Moor Park to take on Chester-le-Street Town for a midweek pre-season fixture and came away with a narrow but well deserved win.
As has been the case on countless occasions over the years, it was Paul Chow who scored the only goal of the game on what was a fine summer evening in County Durham.
Leon Ryan partnered Craig Smith in the centre of the Bay defence, with Michael Laws and Chris Reid on the bench and only getting a few minutes of the action late in the game.
The home side looked lively in the opening exchanges but Dan Gladstone was not seriously troubled.
Equally, Whitley were not looking threatening in attack with play largely confined to midfield.
Alex Kempster looked to have the beating of his opponent down the left flank, and it was the youngster’s pace that helped to create the opening for the only goal of the game.
Midway through the half, Kempster accelerated down the wing before cutting the ball back across the six-yard box. Closing in from the right, Michael McMullen played the ball back into the path of Chow who side-stepped the keeper before tapping the ball into the net from six yards.
It was a well worked goal and it turned out to be the high point of the game.
Seven minutes later Whitley might have doubled their lead when Kempster and Chow combined to set up a chance for Ryan Redford, but the youngster clipped the ball over the bar from 15 yards.
Chester twice tried to play long balls over the Bay defence, but on both occasions Gladstone was alert and raced out to avert the danger.
In the second half and with an hour played, Chow and McMullen were replaced by Craig McFarlane and Robbie Bird.
In the absence of Peter Watling, Bird was given the lone striker role with McFarlane on the right of midfield.
It was McFarlane who troubled the home defence after 68 minutes when he broke clear down the wing and fired a low ball powerfully across the goalmouth, but no Whitley player was on hand to apply the finishing touch.
The nearest Whitley came to another goal was 13 minutes from time when an attempted clearance fell to Ryan on the edge of the penalty area. Seeing the keeper off his line, he attempted to lob the ball into the net but it drifted inches wide of the target.
Whitley were comfortably in control with Chester lacking a cutting edge and the majority of play was now in the home side’s half.
With 12 minutes to go, Redford took a knock on the ankle during a Whitley attack and was replaced by Michael Laws, and the game was into stoppage time before Reid made the briefest of appearances.
Whitley Bay: Gladstone, P Buzzeo, McDonald, S Buzzeo, Ryan, Smith, McMullen, Anderson, Redford, Chow, Kempster. Second half substitutes: Bird, McFarlane, Laws, Reid.