Atkinson relieved after FA Cup win over Congleton

Adam Shanks scores the winning goal for Whitley Bay against Congleton Town.
Adam Shanks scores the winning goal for Whitley Bay against Congleton Town.

Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson was delighted and relieved after his side advanced in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Seahorses came from behind with two Adam Shanks goals seeing off Congleton Town.

Atkinson said: “It was a hard game, in the first half Congleton came and really gave us a game.

“I think the occasion may have overawed one or two of our players, we looked lethargic. And you’ve got to remember, we had Shanks just off a plane from Las Vegas and young Robbie Williamson, a 17-year-old making his debut, you can sometimes forget about those things during the game.

“I thought the real problem was that the midfield was getting over-run.

“There was a massive gap, the energy levels weren’t there, so we decided to move Phil Lumsden and bring Steve Gibson into midfield. Now that’s no disrespect at all to Phil, but the change worked.

“We had six players in the team who didn’t train this week because of injury, and obviously that wasn’t good.

“The understanding on the training field you take onto the pitch and I think you could see in the first half that understanding wasn’t there.”

Atkinson said the options in the squad were reduced because of injuries and unavailability.

“Michael Laws started the warm-up but couldn’t continue,” he said.

“We missed Sam Norris and the outlet that he provides. We’ve a couple of new players (Liam Hudson and Michael Bell) both cup tied so they weren’t available.

“It wasn’t clicking but you’ve got to be patient and we made a few changes.

“Shanks, he’s a bit like Peter Watling, he might not always be in the game but he’ll score you goals.

“We changed the formation and it changed the game in the second half.

“I think we won comfortably in the end. If you analyse the game we had more chances, we even had four in the first half when we weren’t playing well.

“As the game went on we started opening them up. In the end the team spirit again got us there.”

Atkinson revealed that former Bay legend Paul Chow had helped Whitley prepare for the game with some valuable first hand information.

Chow, now with Jarrow Roofing, played against Congleton in the last round and was keen to help his former team-mates.

Atkinson said: “I’d like to mention that Paul Chow gave us an insight into them with some really good advice about their team.”

And the boss now welcomes the prospect of a free week to prepare for the FA Vase tie with West Allotment as they look to extend their seven-match unbeaten run.

“It’s been a very busy couple of weeks, with three big cup ties and a big local derby in the league,” he said.