Whitley Bay put six past relegated Hebburn

Hebburn defenders get in a tangle as Whitley Bay go on the attack.
Hebburn defenders get in a tangle as Whitley Bay go on the attack.
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Whitley Bay hit relegated Hebburn for six on a wet night on South Tyneside, recording one of their biggest wins of the season.

With his side playing their third game in five days, Leon Ryan once again rang the changes to avoid fatigue in the build-up to the League Cup final.

Reserve team youngster Josh Day, a defender who has previously made two appearances as a substitute, came into the side for his full debut and played the full 90 minutes, while assistant manager Steve Foster once again deputised for Ryan in the centre of defence.

Tony Stephenson, who scored for the Hornets against Whitley in the corresponding fixture last season, wasted no time in getting on the score sheet against his former club when his seventh minute shot from Craig McFarlane’s cross flew into the bottom corner of the net to give Whitley an early lead.

With the ball skidding across the wet surface, defenders were not finding it easy and when Whitley backed off from challenging as Hebburn broke with considerable speed down the left wing, the ball was played across the face of goal where giant striker Channon North had the simple task of poking it home for the equaliser.

Whitley retaliated straight from the restart and McFarlane’s cross from the left was chested just beyond the far post by Kris Summers.

Three minutes later Whitley were awarded a free kick 25 yards out on the right and Chris Reid curled the ball round the defensive wall and past keeper Gary Rogers to restore the lead.

To their credit, Hebburn battled back and four minutes later Mark Cook did well to push the ball wide after Michael Watson had taken advantage of a defensive slip to break clear on goal.

It was entertaining end to end football and after 28 minutes Whitley increased their lead with a well worked goal that involved four players.

McFarlane played the ball down the left touchline to Stephenson, who then found Reid, and he in turn put a neat pass across the 18-yard box for Andy Robertson to drill a low shot beyond Rogers.

Still the home side kept pressing forward at every opportunity and it took an excellent diving save by Cook to deny Dan Smith just past the half hour mark.

Robertson might have extended Whitley’s lead when Reid crossed from the left but the ball skidded across the face of goal and away from danger.

Seven minutes before the interval, Whitley got their fourth goal when McFarlane latched onto a through ball just inside the Hebburn half and raced clear, outpacing the home defence before sliding the ball past Rogers.

Just before the break, Paul Chow was denied a shot on goal by last ditch defending when the ball was played in from the left.

The steady rain of the first half eased during the interval, only to be replaced by a thickening mist during the second half, which at times made identification of the players difficult, with both sides playing in stripes.

Eight minutes after the resumption, Shaun Reay brought a good save from Cook, with the Bay keeper happy to concede just a corner.

Whitley went close on the hour when a good cross from Day was headed goalwards by Robertson but the ball was deflected behind for a corner.

Stepping up the pace, Stephenson struck the base of the post with a shot that beat the keeper, but barely a minute later McFarlane struck a tremendous first time shot from well over 25 yards and the ball bulged the net before Rogers could move to give Whitley a 5-1 lead.

Hebburn kept plugging away and after a shot was headed off the line, player manager Scott Oliver, who had not long come off the bench, knocked the rebound home from close range.

Six minutes from time Robertson got his second of the night after being played in by Stephenson.

There was still time for McFarlane to go close to completing a first ever hat-trick for the club, but Rogers got down to make the save.

A good following of Bay fans defied the elements to witness a job well done with their side targeting a top ten finish with one league fixture still to play.

Whitley Bay: Cook, Day, Reid (McMullen 54), Buzzeo (Redford 45), Foster, Smith, McFarlane, Bott, Stephenson, Chow (McDonald 62), Robertson. Subs not used: Gladstone, Kempster.