Point as Bay let late lead slip away
Whitley Bay 2-2 Guisborough Town
In an exciting finale to this game, both sides scored in stoppage time as the points were shared after an evenly contested game .
The wintry weather took its toll of fixtures across the country and this was one of only two Northern League games to go ahead. Having passed a morning inspection, the pitch though heavy was perfectly playable but inevitably the surface became more difficult as the game progressed.
Chances were at a premium in the first half, with Nathan Steel firing wide for the visitors after 13 minutes before good approach play by Whitley ended when Mattie Cornish had a shot blocked.
On the half hour Guisborough conceded possession in midfield allowing Tom Potter to break away but to his frustration the ball bobbled on the surface just as he was about to shoot and he miscued his attempt and it flew high over the bar.
Three minutes later Jay Wilson played the ball across goal from the Guisborough right and Ben Hugill looked certain to score but his close range shot was superbly saved by Tom Flynn almost on the goal line. Just before the interval, Callum Johnston played the ball through but keeper Jordan Nixon raced out to gather the ball just ahead of Kyle Patton.
The second half began in more positive fashion with both sides creating early chances. Two minutes after the resumption, Thibault Charmey, playing against his former club, almost gave Whitley the lead but his fierce 20 yard shot was pushed just over the bar by Nixon. The resultant corner by Potter was headed just over the top by Ross Wilkinson.
Guisborough substitute Onions brought a low save from Flynn after turning quickly in the box before Whitley took a 62nd minute lead. The goal came when Tom Potter floated a free kick into the box from out on the right and Ross Wilkinson flicked the ball on for Kyle Patton to volley home in fine style from six yards.
Three minutes later the Priorymen might have been level but the veteran Onions, looking a threat up front clipped a shot off the outside of the post. The lively and impressive Patton nearly doubled the Bay lead on 70 minutes after cutting in from the left and his shot was only inches off target with Jordan rooted the spot at the other side of the goal.
Five minutes later the visitors drew level after Nathan Steel broke through and when Wilkinson tackled from behind, referee Shane Sugden deemed that Steel had been brought down and awarded a penalty. However to many in the ground it appeared that Wilkinson won the ball cleanly in the challenge, a view which was later confirmed by video evidence. Steel took the spot kick himself, comfortably beating Flynn with a shot down the centre of the goal.
Whitley made a double substitution in a bid to regain the lead with Liam Brooks and Scott Jasper coming off the bench for the closing stages. The move almost paid off when Brooks crossed from the left and Jasper headed narrowly wide.
With the crowd urging them on, Whitley pushed forward and as the game entered stoppage time, they won a corner on the right. When Potter swung the ball into the box, Bay captain Callum Anderson headed past Jordan to put Whitley back in front. It was only his fourth goal in nearly 290 appearances and it looked as if it had won the game but in the third minute of added time, Steven Roberts rescued a point for the visitors when his shot from out on the right took a deflection and flew into the net past Flynn.
It was disappointing to let two points slip so late in the game but in truth, a draw was a fair result on the day.