Whitley denied by a late equaliser
Whitley Bay 3-3 Newcastle Benfield
This was a thoroughly entertaining, action packed local derby and while a draw was a fair result, Whitley will feel disappointed to have conceded an equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game.
On a blustery but very mild afternoon, both sides created early chances, but it was Whitley who took the lead in the 18th minute when Foalle was brought down on the right edge of the box by James Martin and Gavin Caines comfortably beat Grainger from the penalty spot.
Whitley doubled their lead in the 28th minute. There seemed no immediate threat as a Bay attack developed but from 25 yards out, Luke Salmon spotted a gap in the Benfield defence and his tremendous swerving shot left Grainger helpless as it flew into the centre of the goal.
Whitley retained their two goal lead at the interval but it was hardly an accurate reflection of the first half as Benfield had fought back strongly in the final 15 minutes.
Continuing on the attack, the visitors soon reduced the arrears when Brayson played Jake Orrell through on the left and he slotted the ball beyond Bannon.
It came as no great surprise when they equalised in the 56th minute and there was a degree of inevitability about the scorer, Brayson seizing on the ball some 18 yards from goal, before finding space and driving a powerful shot past Bannon.
Whitley gradually battled their way back with a couple of chances.
At the other end, Bannon conceded a 69th minute penalty when he dived at the ball but succeeded only in bringing down Knight. However, he redeemed himself moments later when he saved Brayson’s spot kick.
Three minutes later Whitley were back in front. Foalle had an attempt blocked and when the ball rebounded to substitute Carr, he drilled a low shot back at goal where it was repelled for a second time, but on this occasion Foalle made no mistake, crashing the ball past Grainger from 12 yards.
In the third minute of stoppage time, Benfield were controversially given a throw in midway inside the Bay half. Launching the ball into the box, Holmes sent a header onto the post and Turnbull poked home the rebound to level the score.