Whitley Bay’s poor start to the season continued with a 3-1 defeat at Newton Aycliffe on Saturday.
Although they created more chances than the home side, Bay failed to make the most of their opportunities while Aycliffe capitalised on defensive mistakes to maintain their unbeaten home league record while moving up to seventh place in the table.
With Ash Davis having signed for Blyth Spartans the previous day, Whitley’s attacking options were limited with Paul Chow the only recognised striker available.
On a sunny and mild afternoon at Moore Lane Park, Whitley might have taken an early lead when Craig McFarlane crossed from near the right corner flag after just four minutes but with the home defence static, Chow’s header flew just beyond the far post.
A goal at this stage might have made a big difference but gradually Aycliffe came into the game and a short back pass from Callum Anderson let in new signing Dan Wilson but Tom Kindley made a vital save.
The home side took the lead after 27 minutes when the ball was crossed from the left to Raitt who played it wide to Dan Lambert unmarked on the right of the six-yard box and he comfortably beat Kindley with a shot across the keeper into the far corner of the net.
Straight from the restart, Whitley attacked down the right and McFarlane’s shot crashed off the bar.
Leon Ryan, who had needed treatment for a knock a few minutes earlier, was unable to continue and was replaced by Stephen Buzzeo just past the half hour.
Whitley tried to get back in the game and when Rivers played a neat pass through the home defence, McFarlane saw the ball taken off his toes as he was about to break clear.
awcett had a shot blocked and then right on half-time Chow headed over from a corner by Paul Antony.
One down at the interval, Whitley made the worst possible start to the second half, conceding a crucial second goal within 60 seconds.
Wilson played a ball through the Bay defence and Jamie Owens fired a left-footed shot beyond Kindley to put Aycliffe firmly in control.
Chow was ploughing a lonely furrow up front but twice went close before finally getting Whitley back in the game with 12 minutes left when he met Chris Fawcett’s cross from the right with a diving header that flew past Young, giving the Aycliffe keeper no chance.
Hopes of a recovery similar to last season were short lived as just two minutes later poor marking cost them dear as Owens headed home a third for the hosts from a left wing corner.
Whitley kept going to the end and Chris Reid was unlucky not to reduce the arrears two minutes from time when his header from James Novak’s free kick went the wrong side of the post.
Whitley Bay: Kindley, McFarlane, Novak, Reid, Ryan (Buzzeo 32 mins), Anderson (B Smith 64 mins), Fawcett, Antony, Brooking (McMullen 82 mins), Chow, Rivers.