Five wins in a row at Hillheads for Whitley Bay

Paul Chow is congratulated on his first goal by team-mate Rob Nolan.
Paul Chow is congratulated on his first goal by team-mate Rob Nolan.

Whitley Bay made it five wins in a row at Hillheads with a hard fought 2-0 win over a resilient Consett on Saturday.

Following his hat-trick in the 5-2 midweek win against Sunderland RCA, Paul Chow was again on the score sheet, getting both goals to take his tally for the season to 13.

However, his was not the only key contribution in this impressive display.

There were good performances throughout the team as the home side withheld the challenge of opposition that had scored in all but one of their previous games.

It was therefore particularly praiseworthy to keep a clean sheet, which they did by nullifying the threat of Consett’s experienced striker Michael Mackay and leading scorer Luke Sullivan.

There were four changes to the Bay team that defeated RCA, with goalkeeper Tom Kindley along with defenders Leon Ryan and Callum Anderson all returning to the side. With Jarrett Rivers not fully fit, Stephen Buzzeo made his first start in midfield following substitute appearances in the previous two games.

On a cold, damp and breezy afternoon, there was little to choose between the sides in a first half that produced few real chances.

Chris Reid saw a close range effort blocked at the expense of a corner after just six minutes, while at the other end Mackay was denied by Kindley.

There was little goalmouth action until the half hour, when Rob Nolan quickly latched onto a bouncing ball and his first time shot brought a low save from Jack Norton in the Consett goal.

Eight minutes later, Nolan’s cross from the right led to a goalmouth scramble with efforts from Brad Brooking and Chow being blocked, then three minutes before the break, Nolan fired a shot wide of goal.

Consett were dealt a blow just before the interval when captain and central defender Carl Piecha limped off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

The second half provided more entertaining for the good size crowd and within three minutes Brooking was not far off target following a cross by Buzzeo.

The deadlock was finally broken with 52 minutes on the clock when Craig McFarlane made a tremendous run down the right from inside his own half, outpacing defender Ian Davidson before crossing into the goalmouth where Chow stooped to head home from close range.

The goal gave Whitley a lift and seven minutes later Nolan might have added a second when he broke clear on the left but Norton made the save.

Consett were looking shaky at the back and Whitley took full advantage three minutes past the hour mark when Brooking, bursting through on the left of midfield, played an inch perfect pass through to Chow on the left edge of the six-yard box and the Bay captain slotted the ball between Norton and the near post to give Whitley a two-goal lead.

Nolan was seeing much more of the ball than in the first half and when he was played through on goal his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Whitley were comfortable and even when Consett attacked, the threat was short-lived with Anderson, Reid and Ryan giving nothing away at the back while McFarlane and Brooking posed problems for the visitors with their speed on the ball when breaking from defence.

Eleven minutes from time the Steelmen came as close to a goal as they had managed all game when substitute Mark Eccles crossed from the left and Kindley, alert to the danger, pushed the ball on to the top of the bar and behind for a corner that came to nothing.

With five minutes remaining, Brooking was replaced by teenager Alex Kempster, who almost made an immediate impact as he broke through a tiring Consett defence and looked as if he might add a third goal but was denied by Norton.

Their second victory of the week was a great confidence booster, just what Whitley needed ahead of a tough sequence of games against top of the table sides.

Whitley Bay: Kindley, Brooking (Kempster 85 mins), Anderson, Reid, Ryan, McFarlane, Fawcett, Antony, Nolan (C Smith 77 mins), Chow, Buzzeo (McMullen 60 mins).