Enforced break takes its toll as Whitley Bay return to action

Whitley Bay FC goalkeeper Dan Gladstone.

Whitley Bay FC goalkeeper Dan Gladstone.

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Whitley Bay assistant manager and coach Steve Common admitted his side struggling to last the distance against Shildon.

Playing their first competitive fixture in five weeks, they lost 2-0 to the league leaders on Saturday.

Common, involved in his first game since joining the club said the effects of the weather and enforced five-week spell without a game took its toll.

“It’s been like having an off-season,” he said.

“They looked leggy because they’ve not been playing games. You can train all you want but you need to get on the pitch and play.

“We started well, looked sharp and looked to pass the ball early, and we created the best chances in the first 20 odd minutes, then we let them in the game.

“It was probably against the run of play when they scored. It came when we switched off at the throw-in. They got the ball to the player in the box and unfortunately for us he scored from it.

“I thought it was pretty even until half-time.

“Sam [Norris] in the second half had a good chance early on and the keeper made a good save, but then there was the penalty decision.

“We couldn’t see it from where we were but I think that changed the game.

“After that we tired a lot struggled with our shape and it didn’t quite come off, but we were playing a team top of the league who have had games when we haven’t.

“So we’re now in that position where we’ve just got to play games.

“It was a very heavy pitch, it had a lot of grass on it but underneath it didn’t hold your foot very well and both teams struggled to keep their footing.

“I think they got the rub of the green a little bit, but they’re not where they are for nothing.

“There wasn’t a huge amount of difference between the teams and when we get some game time in I think we should improve.”

Two new signings, James Atkinson and Jack Foalle, both got game time.

Common added: “We threw the two new lads in at the deep end. James Atkinson I had with me at the Newcastle Academy. He was in the under-18s last year.

“Then Jack came on, he’d been playing for Seaton Delaval and had scored quite a few goals, sometimes you need a bit more thrust up front.”