Depleted Whitley Bay far from disgraced in Spennymoor defeat

Whitley Bay's Rob Nolan challenges for the ball against Spennymoor.

Whitley Bay's Rob Nolan challenges for the ball against Spennymoor.

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Whitley Bay battled well at the Brewery Field against the current FA Vase holders and championship favourites Spennymoor Town.

And despite going down to a 3-1 defeat were far from disgraced.

The visitors’ cause was not helped by the absence of four regulars, Tom Kindley, Brad Brooking, Chris Fawcett and Jarrett Rivers, whereas Spennymoor have such a large and strong squad that neither Lee Kerr or Kyle Hayes, who they signed from Whitley during the summer, featured even among the substitutes.

The game began well enough for Bay as they more than held their own in the first half hour.

And they might have gone ahead when a great through ball from Callum Anderson put Rob Nolan through on goal but his slightly delayed shot was saved by the feet of keeper Peter Jeffries and the ball deflected behind for a corner.

Whitley were dealt a serious blow just before the half hour when Craig McFarlane suffered a hamstring injury and was unable to continue.

To lose such a key player from an already depleted side was a cruel setback, but it gave the opportunity for teenager Jake Kallis to make his debut.

The youngster, from Australia, had only received his international clearance a few days earlier and showed a good deal of promise in what was a tough baptism.

Spennymoor gradually came more into the game, exerting pressure on the Bay defence with Henderson twice going close from crosses by former Bay winger Wayne Phillips, before Griffiths fired wide from out on the right.

Just as it began to look as if the teams would go in level at half-time, Spennymoor took the lead following good approach work down the right flank from Walton whose cross was fired home by Henderson, although Jonathan Ball did well to get his hands to the shot but could not keep it out.

A rapid response by Whitley resulted in two corners in quick succession, the second of which saw Paul Antony’s shot deflected wide.

Then shortly before the half-time whistle, Nolan fired a shot across goal and just beyond the far post.

On the resumption, Paul Chow fired a shot intro the side netting as Whitley went in search of the equaliser.

But in the 49th minute they were left with more than just the Spennymoor slope to climb when the Moors went two up.

Henderson raced away down the right and his cross towards the back post was lifted over Ball by Cogdon from close range.

Whitley kept plugging away and from Antony’s corner, Chow headed over the bar.

Chances at either end were restricted, with Spennymoor comfortably in control, and hard as Whitley tried, they could not break down the strong home defence.

Alex Kempster had battled well on his full debut before being replaced by Stephen Buzzeo for the last 20 minutes.

Michael McMullen fired a good effort not far wide after 74 minutes but then with seven minutes left, the Moors added a third goal when Cogdon’s ball to the left of the six-yard box was drilled home by substitute Andrew Stephenson.

Five minutes from time, Whitley gained at least some reward for their efforts when Chow was tugged down just outside the penalty area by Michael Laws and James Novak curled the free kick perfectly into the top corner of the net, beyond the reach of the diving Jeffries for what was a top quality goal.

Whitley Bay: Ball, McFarlane (Kallis 29 mins), Novak, Reid, Ryan, Anderson (C Smith 81 mins), McMullen, Antony, Nolan, Chow, Kempster (Buzzeo 69 mins).