Whitley Bay fail to show in Senior Cup defeat to Ashington

On a dismal night for Bay fans, Whitley produced their worst performance for a long time in a very one-sided Northumberland Senior Cup final at St James’ Park.

Ashington dominated the game from start to finish and even their most ardent fans must have been surprised with the ease of their 3-0 victory.

The Colliers had not won the trophy for more than 30 years, so the joy of their players and vociferous fans at the final whistle was understandable.

It was Whitley who got the first shot on goal, when Karl Dryden saved low down from Paul Robinson inside the first minute.

However, Ashington gave an indication of what was to come when barely a minute later Andrew Johnson fired a 20-yard shot just over the bar.

They quickly took a grip on the game and deservedly went ahead after ten minutes when Mark O’Dea, arguably man of the match, played the ball through to Johnson who curled a shot past Kyle Hayes from the edge of the penalty area.

It was a shot that the Bay keeper seemed to have covered but he failed to get his hands to the ball as it flew into the corner of the net.

Marc Walton then had an effort blocked by Hayes before James Fairley broke through at the other end only to hesitate when well placed and then fire wide of goal.

A low shot from Glen Taylor was then pushed wide by Hayes as the Colliers kept up the pressure with three corners in quick succession.

Midway through the half, Chris Fawcett headed over the bar from a Fairley cross, but Whitley were failing to mount any sustained pressure, with Paul Chow an isolated figure up front as their passing was way below its normal level of accuracy.

Ashington’s second goal came in the 38th minute when Walton’s dummy cleverly allowed James Taylor’s ball to go beyond him, deceiving Chris Reid and leaving O’Dea with a clear run on goal.

He advanced a few yards before slotting the ball past Hayes to put the Colliers firmly in control of the game.

Whitley Bay’s immediate response came when Craig McFarlane, now pushed up in attack, headed at Dryden from Fawcett’s cross, but he was deemed to have committed a foul in the process.

It had been an outstanding first half performance by Ashington and a big improvement was needed by Whitley in the second period if they were to rescue the game.

While they did look livelier and have a greater share of possession, it was not enough to turn the game around.

Chow came a little more into the game and after being played through by Robinson, he got a touch to a good cross from Fawcett but Dryden made a comfortable save.

Lewis Burns and then Brian Smith came off the bench as Whitley tried to find a way back into the game.

Burns had a header saved from a Novak cross then Fawcett’s ball flew across the face of goal, but the threat from Ashington remained, Walton and Johnson both going close while former Bay striker Glen Taylor was also in the thick of the action.

Whitley had come from two down to win at Newton Aycliffe six days earlier, but any lingering hopes of a Bay fight back this time were extinguished 16 minutes from time.

Johnson attacked down the left and cut inside McFarlane before firing in a shot that Hayes punched away to his left, but the ball fell for Walton whose fierce volley gave the Bay keeper no chance.

Scroggins fired a 20-yard effort wide before Chow finally broke clear but failed to capitalise on the opportunity.

Whitley should have pulled a goal back when Chow’s cross somehow eluded Brian Smith barely three yards out, but by now the Colliers fans were singing even louder and the full-time whistle heralded celebrations from Gary Middleton’s side while Whitley were left to reflect on a bitterly disappointing night when they were thoroughly outplayed.

Their only consolation came later, with news that West Auckland had failed to beat Shildon, ensuring Whitley of third place in the Ebac Northern League.

Whitley Bay: Hayes, Brooking, Novak, Anderson (B Smith 65 mins), Reid, McFarlane, Fawcett (Watson 78 mins), Scroggins, Fairley (Burns 62 mins), Chow, Robinson. Subs not used: Downey, C Smith.