Whitley Bay held to 2-2 draw by league leaders Shildon

Former Whitley Bay goalkeeper Kyle Hayes conceded two goals against his old side.
Former Whitley Bay goalkeeper Kyle Hayes conceded two goals against his old side.

An injury-striken Whitley Bay side came within three minutes of inflicting a rare defeat on League leaders Shildon on Tuesday night.

In the end, though, they had to settle for a share of the points in their first league game for more than three weeks.

Alex Kempster almost gave Whitley an early lead, but his shot struck the foot of the post from 15 yards out after he broke clear and drove the ball beyond former Bay keeper Kyle Hayes.

Shildon went close when Fryatt’s header was well saved low down by Andy Jennison, and they looked a real threa,t but Whitley were also looking lively and creating chances of their own.

It was Whitley who took the lead after 27 minutes when Adam Shanks weaved his way past two defenders before clipping the ball over the Shildon defence for Liam Hudson to head home from five yards for his first goal in Bay colours.

Despite efforts from Fryatt and Matthew Robson, the league leaders could not find a way through a Bay defence including debutant Stuart Bramley, signed from Blyth Spartans less than 24 hours earlier.

Shildon started the second half strongly but 10 minutes after the interval, Whitley had strong penalty claims turned down after Shanks went down in the box under pressure from James Harwood.

Three minutes later, though, most of the excellent midweek crowd of 353 were cheering when Whitley doubled their lead, and once again it was Hudson who got the goal, heading home Mark Bertram’s right-wing corner, although there were suggestions that Hayes had been impeded when the corner kick was taken.

Play was held up for several minutes after Jennison was injured making a save so Dan Gladstone took his place in goal.

It later emerged that Jennison had been taken to hospital and was diagnosed with a broken bone in his hand, further adding to Whitley’s injury woes.

Midway through the half, the Railwaymen reduced the arrears when Billy Greulich-Smith poked the ball home at the back post following a corner awarded by referee Lucy Oliver despite her assistant flagging for a goal kick.

The County Durham side steadily built up a head of steam as the Bay defence came under increasing pressure.

Gladstone saved well from Connor while in counter attacks, Whitley went close through Williamson and Hughes.

Three minutes from time, the visitors benefited from an unfortunate deflection off Josh Day, who had earlier made an excellent block to deny Robson, attempted to clear the ball but it flew off his foot and, with Gladstone wrongfooted, it crept just inside the post for the equaliser.

The visitors pushed hard for a winner in the remaining minutes, but Whitley held firm, with Gladstone making another important save.

Whitley Bay: Jennison (Gladstone 58mins), Day, McDonald, Bell, Laws, Bramley, Hudson, Bertram, Shanks (Williamson 71mins), Hughes, Kempster. Substitutes not used: Young, Richardson, Redhead.