Whitley Bay battle back to earn draw at Durham City

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A tremendous second half comeback earned Whitley Bay a point at Durham on Tuesday evening.

City looked the better side in the first half, playing some fast, neat football and deservedly went ahead on the half hour through Callum Patton.

The same player doubled their lead a minute before the interval but Whitley showed real character in the second half.

And after keeper Andy Jennison had kept his side in the game with a superb one handed save to deny Craig Lynch, Whitley pulled a goal back on 58 minutes when Michael Laws got on the end of a free kick from Sam Norris.

Seventeen minutes from time Peter Watling, playing his final game before leaving to take up a teaching appointment in Dubai, signed off in perfect style, levelling the score with a brilliant 20-yard shot into the top corner.

A minute later Whitley might have taken the lead but City keeper Tom Flynn tipped a tremendous shot from Kris Hughes over the bar.

In stoppage time Watling almost snatched victory for Whitley but Flynn made a fine double save to ensure that the points were shared.

It was a happy Paddy Atkinson who reflected on the game.

“You could see the character of the lads, we’ve worked hard in the summer to get that kind of togetherness in the team.

“Durham are a good team, they played really well first half and deserved their goals, their energy levels were good and Flynn made some top drawer saves.

“We had him for a while last season and thought he’d be playing at higher level but he kept them in the game with some great saves.

“In fact both keepers did really well and a draw was a fair result.”

However, he said stern words were said at half-time.

“Our work rate defensively wasn’t good enough first half, but they reacted to it and were much better second half,” he said.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s FA Cup tie, Atkinson added: “We’ve got strength in depth so there are players ready to come in to cover those with injuries.”

Whitley Bay: Jennison, Gibson, McDonald, Anderson (Redhead 52), Laws, Reid (Hughes 14), Norris, Bertram, Watling, Shanks (Flynn 84), Kempster. Subs not used: Gladstone, Young.