WHITLEY Bay FC recorded their sixth consecutive victory on Saturday as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 4-1 win at Jarrow.
They went into the game without strikers Paul Chow and Phill Bell while defender Gareth Williams was missing through injury, but Chris Reid, back from a year in Australia made a return to the side.
Whitley started brightly and went ahead in the ninth minute when Paul Robinson played an excellent ball through from midfield which caught the home defence napping.
Lee Kerr ran clear and calmly rounded keeper Nick Liversedge before slotting the ball home for what was his 170th goal for the club, to leave him just one behind 1960’s striker John Gatens, who is at number two in the all-time scoring list.
Jarrow’s first real attempt on target came from David Malloy after 20 minutes when he cut in from the left and brought a good save from Kyle Hayes.
Robinson went close before Bay increased their lead.
The second goal came from an outstanding piece of ball control and possession from Robbie Dale, who attacked down the middle and drifted past several players before beating the last man and leaving Liversedge with no chance with a clinical finish.
Shortly after, neat inter-play between David Pounder and Gary Ormston set up the latter for a shot that he hit over.
Jarrow winger Kris Hughes, who had a short spell at Hillheads during pre-season, was looking the liveliest member of the home side but it was the namesake of Bay midfielder Robinson who put the Roofers back in the game two minutes before the interval with a great shot that gave Hayes no chance as it flew into the top corner from fully 25 yards out.
Reid nearly restored Whitley’s two-goal advantage a minute later when Liversedge parried his 20-yard shot.
Callum Anderson replaced Kerr after half-time, with Kerr suffering a slight injury.
For a while, Whitley seemed to lose their way and with Jarrow looking revitalised.
Hayes needed to be alert on several occasions, notably when at full stretch to push away a Karl McMann shot.
The introduction of Lee Paul Scroggins just before the hour soon had an impact and after Craig McFarlane hit an effort just wide, a corner on the left was cleared only as far as the edge of the penalty area where Scroggins fired a low shot beyond Liversedge but the ball struck the post.
Only two minutes later Scroggins was again involved as the home side struggled to clear their lines.
When the ball rebounded to Damon Robson, the Bay captain slid the ball home from close range.
McFarlane and Robinson combined well to set up another chance which was blocked and then with 11 minutes remaining, a great cross from Robinson flew across the goalmouth just inches ahead of the despairing dive of McFarlane.
Reid, who had looked very impressive on his return to the club was cautioned, then Jarrow defender Paul Wardle was arguably fortunate to escape with only a yellow after he brought down McFarlane as the Bay midfielder surged through the last line of defence.
Late pressure from Jarrow saw a free kick from Hughes pushed clear by Hayes then with time running out, a chip shot from Jarrow’s Robinson was palmed away from goal by the ever alert Bay keeper.
In stoppage time, a quick break to the other end saw Scroggins take the ball past a defender and his cross into the goalmouth was poked into the far corner of the net by Robson for a rare second goal for the skipper.
Whitley Bay: Hayes, Ormston, McFarlane, Timmons, Smith, Reid (Downey 83 mins), Pounder, Robson, Kerr (Anderson 45 mins), Dale (Scroggins 57 mins), Robinson. Subs not used: Rowe, Williams.