Whitley Bay crashed out of the FA Cup in extremely cruel and controversial circumstances on Tuesday evening.
With just a minute of normal time remaining, and the game still goal less, extra time was looking inevitable but then Robbie Bird fired a great shot across Bridlington keeper Adam Nicholson and it appeared to go just inside the far post.
The ball rebounded back into play and the game was allowed to continue and in a quick break upfield, Town striker Ombeni Duka poked the ball home for the winner.
The restart was delayed while referee James Simpson consulted his assistant at the other end of the pitch to decide whether Bird’s shot had indeed crossed the goal line.
Eventually they confirmed the Bridlington goal stood, to the amazement and dismay of the majority in the Hillheads crowd.
During the five minutes of stoppage time, Whitley Bay twice went agonisingly close to sending the tie into a further 30 minutes.
Substitute Jonny Godsmark hit the post and Steve Foster headed against the bar as the home side did everything they could to rescue the game, but it was to no avail.
Earlier in the contest, Whitley’s injury woes continued as Callum Anderson was forced to leave the field after just 20 minutes with ligament damage that looks likely to keep him sidelined for several weeks.
This was just the latest in an unprecedented series of injuries that has decimated the first team squad and forced assistant manager Foster to name himself in the starting line-up with five members of the reserve team among the substitutes.
A battling display deserved a better outcome and Whitley’s sense of injustice was only heightened when several of the Bridlington players admitted that they believed Bird’s shot had indeed crossed the line.
Whitley Bay: Cook, Brooking, McDonald, Buzzeo (Potter 90), Foster, Laws, Harris, Anderson (Godsmark 20), Bird, Chow, Kempster. Subs not used: Lopez, Gladstone, Byerley, Johnson, Blake.