Whitley Bay players can hold heads high despite FA Cup exit, says boss

Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson.
Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson.
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Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson reckons his players have every right to feel proud despite their FA Cup third qualifying round defeat against Chorley.

“I’m really, really proud of the lads, and I think everyone would agree we’ve seen a very good FA Cup tie, and that’s really what it’s about,” he said after seeing the Seahorses lose 3-2 at home.

“I believe if we’d had the full-strength squad, we could even have got an equaliser, but because of injuries, our bench was a bit weaker than what we normally have.

“Chorley are a well-organised team, very direct and strong, but we matched them in every department, and on another day, I think we could have got a draw.

“Dillon Blake came out of the reserves and did very, very well and could have scored but just lacked that little bit of experience of playing at this level.

“What can you say about Shanksy’s goals? I’ve been talking to him about looking up at the keeper when he’s in positions like that, and for the first one, he did. What a goal!

“They changed it in the second half, so we had to deal with four forwards, and that was the game-changer.

“Losing Chris Reid, a good player in defence, meant we couldn’t go to the shape we needed.

“We needed him, a big lad, when we were playing big opposition.

“On another day, I think we could have dealt with their goals better, but that’s the quality of their team.

“We had to be at our best all the time. We were in the first half and in spells in the second half.

“Everyone we had on that pitch did really well. I can’t single anyone out.

“We’ve got to be honest – we were not going to win the FA Cup, but we’ve had a nice little journey, further than we’ve gone for quite a lot of years, but we’ve got other cups to play for.

“Their manager, Matt Jansen, said we did very well and gave them a scare, and also the ref said he thought we did very well.

“You could tell by the applause when we came off the pitch that some of the fans who were here for the first time really thought they’d got value for money and will want to come back.”