Scroggins rescues a point for Whitley

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THIS was the eighth time in their last ten league meetings at Dean Street that Whitley Bay have drawn with Shildon so perhaps it was no surprise that the points were shared.

But Whitley left it late with LeePaul Scroggins getting the equaliser just as the game entered stoppage time.

On a pudding of a pitch where the ball bobbled on the uneven surface and failed to bounce more than a few inches off the ground, both sides struggled to master the conditions and passes regularly went astray.

However, for the neutrals in the crowd it was an entertaining game as both sides created chances.

But it proved a frustrating afternoon for the visitors, whose failure to collect all three points cost them the opportunity of going top of the table.

David Coulson missed the game through suspension but Paul Chow and David Pounder returned to the side while Lee Kerr dropped to the bench.

Darren Timmons was also named among the substitutes after returning from a short spell at Blyth.

Bay started strongly and after just five minutes Shildon keeper Keith Finch pushed a shot from Paul Robinson round the post.

It soon became evident how difficult the pitch was proving as the play was littered with misplaced passes disrupting the flow of the game with the ball holding up on the muddy surface.

Then after Pounder chipped the ball just over the bar, Brian Smith almost put Whitley ahead following a free kick, but his shot hit the angle of the bar and post and rebounded away from goal.

Moments later Finch pushed an angled shot from Chow away from goal – but the game was not all at the Shildon end.

The home side were quick on the break and Kyle Hayes did well to keep out an effort from Nicky Kane, then Marc Ellison then fired high over the bar.

But six minutes before the interval, a rash tackle from Callum Anderson brought down Steven Johnson just inside the Bay penalty area and Craig Price put Shildon ahead from the spot, despite Hayes diving the right way.

On chances created, Whitley should have been ahead at half-time, but in the second half they had the benefit of the blustery wind at their backs.

Soon after the restart Michael McMullen drilled the ball just beyond the far post when a cross might have been a better option, then Finch needed two attempts to hold a stinging shot from Robinson.

Whitley were gaining the upper hand in terms of possession without any end product, but Shildon’s substitutions midway through the half made a difference with the lively Chris Hughes and Wayne Gredziak both going close.

Another attempt by Robinson was pushed wide by Finch, but Shildon remained a threat on the break.

Hughes saved his side with five minutes remaining as his defensive header sent an effort from Chow behind for a corner.

It looked as if Shildon would ensure victory when Richmond, another substitute, went round Hayes but he put the ball wide of a gaping goal.

The miss was to prove costly as the game entered stoppage time and Whitley mounted another attack through Chris Fawcett and Robbie Dale.

The ball was played to Scroggins on the edge of the area and he fired a low shot through a crowded goalmouth into the corner of the net.

On the balance of play Whitley deserved a share of the spoils, and they almost won the game with a late attack which the home side eventually repelled.

Whitley Bay: Hayes, Anderson, Pounder (Ormston 77 mins), Reid (Timmons 60 mins), Smith, Fawcett, McMullen, Scroggins, Dale, Chow, Robinson. Subs not used: McFarlane, Kerr, Rowe.