WHITLEY Bay are through to the next round of the FA Vase but their 2-1 win against second division Jarrow Roofing was far from convincing.
Whitley created enough chances to have had the game won by half-time but poor finishing and some good goalkeeping meant that they led by just one goal at the interval.
After missing the Blyth Spartans Senior Cup draw in midweek, Paul Robinson returned to the side but Lee Kerr was not fully fit and James Fairley replaced him in the starting 11.
With barely a minute played, Ash Davis had a great chance to put Whitley in front but his close range shot failed to find the target.
Shortly after, he cut in from the left and drove a low shot at keeper Jonathan Carmichael.
Whitley kept up the pressure and Robinson’s free kick was pushed clear for a corner.
In Roofing’s first attack, new signing Michael Chapman broke forward but fired wide of the Whitley goal.
Chapman then tested Hayes with a better effort that the Bay keeper pushed behind.
Whitley were enjoying most of the possession and chances and the next to go close was Chris Reid with a header from Novak’s corner.
Moments later, Davis was through on goal but Carmichael raced out to deny him. The Jarrow keeper thwarted Davis again soon after, holding onto a header from Fairley’s cross.
An excellent surging run from defence by Brad Brooking penetrated the visitors defence thanks to a neat one-two with Chris Fawcett which resulted in another Bay corner. This time, Novak played the ball to LeePaul Scroggins on the edge of the penalty area. His shot through a ruck of players was blocked but his follow up effort was diverted into the net by Paul Chow from close range – a typical Chow goal which took him past Kerr into second place in Whitley’s all time scoring records with 182 to his name.
The goal was no more than Whitley deserved, but despite controlling the game and creating more chances, notably for Davis and Robinson, they could not add to their lead before the interval.
Six minutes into the second half, Whitley should have got a second and possibly decisive goal when Fawcett raced away down the right wing and crossed the ball perfectly for Davis, who mis-hit his shot in front of goal and the ball drifted wide of the near post.
Jarrow were looking more lively in the second half and seeing Whitley waste chances to finish the game off they must have thought they were in with a real chance.
In an effort to liven up the team, Ian Chandler brought on Kerr in place of Fairley, who was not proving nearly as effective as in the midweek game at Blyth.
Ten minutes into the half, Brooking burst through down the right wing and crossed the ball into the goalmouth where defender Jamie Marshall just got his head to the ball to deflect it behind and deny Robinson who was waiting at the back post with the goal at his mercy.
In another effort to improve Whitley’s fortunes, Craig McFarlane replaced Davis for the last half hour, but the longer the game went on, the more Jarrow seemed to gain in confidence, though without putting Kyle Hayes under any real pressure.
Whitley seemed to be losing their way with passes going astray, but eventually they got a second goal when man of the match Brooking burst through again, beating Carmichael to a long ball before rounding him and firing home from 15 yards despite the brave efforts of a defender to keep the ball out.
If Whitley thought that goal would break Jarrow’s resolve they were to be disappointed.
Four minutes later, with Chow having just been replaced by David Pounder, Dan Smart ran on to a long ball down the left, cut in behind the Bay defence and fired a low shot across Hayes into the far corner of the net.
Instead of being able to play out the remaining minutes in comfort, Whitley were put under more pressure than at any stage of the game and it took a goal line clearance to keep them in front.
Late on, Jarrow were convinced they should have had a penalty but referee Ian Patton, who had controlled the game with a minimum of fuss, ignored their pleas.
Whitley Bay: Hayes, Brooking, Novak, Anderson, Reid, Scroggins, Fawcett, Davis (McFarlane 59 mins), Fairley (Kerr 51 mins), Chow (Pounder 79 mins), Robinson.
On Saturday Whitley travel to Consett before taking on league champions Spennymoor Town at Hillheads on Tuesday evening.