Bay hit three to continue win run

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Whitley continued their recent impressive form with victory at Team Northumbria, all three goals coming in the space of five minutes early in the second half.

On a bitterly cold afternoon the students looked much the better side in the first half but they failed to capitalise on the chances they created and good defending kept Whitley on level terms at the interval.

Whitley were missing Peter Glen-Ravenhill through injury while Aiden Haley and Scott Jasper were both unavailable.

After a quiet opening, Team North went close in the 16th minute when Alex Djukic had a shot blocked by Tom Flynn and after a goalmouth scramble Ross Wilkinson eventually managed to get the ball clear. Five minutes later Liam Brooks played in Matty Cornish but his shot was comfortably saved by keeper Stefan Holden. The home side looked much more lively and on the half hour Jack Walker had to make a goal line clearance from Ben Dibb-Fuller. Defender Aidan Heywood then made a surging run down the left and when unchallenged he cut in before firing just wide of the near post. Three minutes before the break Dibb-Fuller again went close but his ball into the goalmouth was fisted away by Flynn. Noah Summers was hit in the face by the ball from close range shortly before the half time whistle and on the resumption was replaced by the fit again Josh Nearney.

Five minutes into the second half, Team North wasted another good chance when the ball was blazed high over the bar, a miss that was soon to prove costly.

When Whitley were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal, Matty Cornish drove in a low shot that was fumbled by Holden and with the ball trickling towards the line, Alex Kempster raced in to force it home and give Whitley a 54th minute lead. The keeper was at fault again two minutes later when Thibault Charmey played the ball out to Liam Brooks on the right edge of the box and the tall striker drilled a low shot into the net past the statuesque Holden who completely misjudged the shot.

The students’ defence, secure in the first half, now looked in disarray and three minutes later Whitley added a third goal, but this time there was nothing Holden could do when from the edge of the box Brooks played an excellent ball through to Charmey who slotted it home from ten yards.

Brooks was now causing all sorts of problems for the home side and midway through the half he outmuscled a defender and raced clear before putting his shot just inches wide of the post. That was to be his last action of the match and he received a tremendous ovation from the Bay fans when he was replaced by Connor Campbell for the final quarter of the game.

Still Whitley pushed forward and Kempster almost added a fourth goal but Holden partly redeemed himself with a fine full length save, then a minute later he got his fingertips to a long range effort from Charmey, pushing the ball round the post for a corner.

Now firmly in control of the game, Whitley took the opportunity to introduce 18 year old James Proctor, another of the promising youngsters from the Reserves and he almost set up a chance late on with an attacking run from midfield.

To their credit, Team North kept going right to the end and deep into stoppage time, substitute Kevin Carr almost reduced the arrears with a great shot that crashed off the outside the post. However this was not to be their day and not only did Whitley keep another clean sheet but they condemned the students to their heaviest defeat of the season.

The victory was Whitley’s fourth in a row and moved them up to ninth in the table, still with games in hand on all the sides above them and it will put them in good heart ahead of their very tough FA Vase 3rd Round tie on Saturday away to West Auckland.