WHITLEY Bay FC capitalised on a fierce first half performance against Bedlington Terriers on Tuesday night to secure three league points.
The Northern League game at Hillheads attracted international media attention with the presence of the Terriers president and US billionaire Bob Rich sitting in the stands.
But it was the home side who dominated the match, with Whitley coming close to an opener in the first few minutes when Craig McFarlane set up Paul Chow to go close.
Bay finally went ahead on 23 minutes McFarlane was on hand on the left side of the box to head in the opening goal when he met a Chris Fawcett cross.
And minutes later the goalscorer set up Saturday’s FA Carlsberg Vase hero Chow to double Bay’s lead.
McFarlane played a ball through to Chow who timed his run well to beat Kevin Morton in the Bedlington goal.
The visitors rarely caused a problem for the Bay defence and it was the home side who increased their lead.
Brian Smith made no mistake on 38 minutes when Gary Ormston set him up to finish from inside the six-yard box to make it 3-0 at half-time.
The second period brought a slower pace to the game, but Whitley had the opportunity for a fourth when they were awarded a penalty, only for Lee Kerr to send it wide.
Minutes later a spot kick was awarded again, this time in favour of the visitors, and Alex Benjamin made no mistake.
Bedlington were never going to pull it back, though, and Whitley comfortably saw the game out to pick up three points.
Following their FA Vase exploits, Whitley Bay now face a battle to reduce their backlog of league games and close the gap on the top five sides, the STL Northern League division one.
They now have three consecutive away games, starting on Saturday when they visit Jarrow Roofing.
Then on the Tuesday evening they are at Esh Winning and they follow that a week on Saturday (February 5) with a first time trip to Heritage Park, the new home of Bishop Auckland.
These are all games from which the Seahorses would hope to collect maximum points.
Defender Steve Gibson will miss all these games as he serves his three-match ban for the red card he received in the AFC Liverpool game.
However, the good news is that he will be available for the FA Vase fifth round tie at home to Dunstable.