Bay battle for badly needed three points

Whitley Bay 1

Chester-le-Street Town 0

WHITLEY Bay gained the three points they so badly needed on Saturday. But despite dominating the game for long periods, especially in the first half, they had only a single goal to show for their efforts.

Following a run of three successive defeats, Whitley attacked from the kick off and in the first minute Kevin Walton was fouled just outside the penalty area. He took the free-kick himself and drove in a shot that visiting keeper Ian Aitken did well to hold.

Whitley were controlling play and after five minutes, a good move down the left wing resulted in Walton putting Gary Middleton clear on goal but he placed his shot just wide of the post.

Chester were pushing defenders out and Lee Ludlow was twice ruled offside as he tried to breakthrough. This was proving a dangerous tactic for the visitors and only a late signal from the linesman denied the Bay striker a scoring opportunity.

After 15 minutes, in their first real attack, Chester-le-Street tested Terry Burke as Neil Crute saw his lobbed shot brilliantly palmed over the bar by the Bay keeper.

However, that was a rare excursion into the Whitley half and two minutes later Walton's header in the penalty area caused confusion in the visitors defence before the ball was scrambled away.

Whitley eventually broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when Mark Taylor raced into the area and unleashed a shot that Aitken could not hold and Walton fired the rebound into the corner of the net.

Ian Chandler should have doubled the lead two minutes later but he skied Middleton's cross over the bar from four yards.

Shortly after the half hour, Walton's right wing corner was headed just over the bar by Danny Anderson. Marc Walmsley was the next to try his luck, his mazy run down the left flank ending with a shot that shaved the post.

The Cestrians' goal was living a charmed life and in the wet conditions, Aitken was opting to punch clear rather than attempt to catch the ball, leading to some desperate clearances by his back four.

While Whitley were by far the better team they had only one goal to show for their domination of the first half. This seemed to encourage Chester-le-Street to take a more positive approach after the interval and they pushed forward in search of an equaliser.

Ian Dixon, now back at Hillheads after a spell at Gateshead, was in excellent form and helped to nullify the threat of former Bay duo Steve Cuggy and Andy Blower.

Whitley gradually came back into the game and midway through the half brought on new signing Gary Innes, who joined the club from Tow Law during the week.

The pitch was holding up well despite the persistant rain but the ball was skidding across the surface, making accurate passing dificult. In the closing stages, Burke earned generous applause for two excellent saves that denied the Cestrians a point, while at the other end, the influential Walton provided substitute Lee Scroggins with a chance that Aitken did well to block.

Whitley Bay: Burke, Taylor (Melrose 84 mins), Walmsley, Dixon, Locker, Anderson, Middleton, Bowes (Innes 65 mins), Ludlow (Scroggins 77 mins), Chandler, Walton. Subs not used: Dugdale, Little.

Boosted by this win, Whitley Bay resume their defence of the FA Vase on Saturday when they travel to Dunston in the third round. They have a good record at Federation Park, never having been beaten there. However, Dunston, who were first round victims of Whitley last season, are currently in good form and will be thirsting for revenge.

Whitley will need to show the battling qualities that won them the Vase back in May if they are not to relinquish their grip on the trophy.

As in the previous round at Billingham, Whitley will be hoping for plenty of vocal support from their fans.

If necessary, extra time will be played and should the scores remain level, a replay will take place at Hillheads on Tuesday evening.


Whitley Bay 1 Jarrow Roofing 2

THREE victories in a week earlier in the month suggested that Whitley had finally turned the corner after their poor start to the season, but last week's Tuesday evening game was their third defeat in a week and at the halfway point in the league season, Whitley are struggling in the lower half of the table.

Despite the return of Ian Dixon from Gateshead and Danny Anderson and Steve Locker reuniting the partnership that performed so well in the latter stages of the Vase run last season, it did not prevent yet another disappointing defeat against a team that Whitley would have comfortably beaten on last season's form.

Simon Reay, a youngster who made a good impression at the end of last season, was brought into the team on the left flank and was prominent for Whitley in the early stages. After seven minutes he went close to opening the scoring with a close range shot that brought a point blank save from Hoggeth after Ludlow's effort had been blocked.

Other than that, defences were on top for much of the first half and neither side created many openings.

After the interval, Jarrow looked more lively and took the lead within six minutes when Paul Chow scored from the penalty spot after Anderson had been adjudged to have handled the ball.

Frustration got the better of Andy Bowes two minutes later when along with Jarrow's Scott Garrett, he was booked after the two scuffled following a strong tackle in midfield.

A double substitution on the hour mark saw Ian Chandler and Kevin Walton brought on to add firepower up front.

In the 74th minute, disaster struck for Whitley when the ball was not properly cleared and the dangerous Chow tapped the ball home from close range to put Jarrow two up.

Whitley replied straight from the restart with Walton latching onto Chandler's through ball to beat Hoggeth and get his name on the scoresheet for the second successive game.

Seven minutes from time, Walton almost earned Whitley a point but his header from Dugdale's cross crashed against the post with the keeper beaten.

In a lively finish, Locker headed just wide from a free-kick as Whitley pushed forward but it was all too little, too late.

To cap a disappointing evening, Jon Sunderland was sent off in stoppage time for swearing at the referee after a decision went against him.

Whitley Bay: Burke, Sunderland, Walmsley, Dixon, Anderson, Locker, Dugdale, Bowes, Ludlow (Walton 60 mins), Scroggins (Chandler 60 mins), Reay (Middleton 79 mins). Subs not used: Melrose, Taylor.