Whitley Bay 0-3 West Auckland Town
Whitley’s nine game unbeaten run came to an end with defeat against a strong West Auckland side.
However they looked the better team for much of the first half and had they taken their chances, the outcome might have been different.
Backed by an excellent crowd of just under 400 fans, Whitley started well, forcing three corners in rapid succession but in a quick break to the other end it required a goal line clearance to deny the visitors.
With nine minutes played Purewal struck a shot wide for Auckland but two minutes later they took the lead through prolific striker Nathan Fisher after he turned on the ball and struck a shot across Dan Lister from the edge of the box.
A promising move involving Scott Jasper and Peter Glen-Ravenhill was thwarted when defender Ross Colquhoun headed clear then in the 25th minute Dan Lister needed to be alert to block a shot after an error at the back when a back pass fell short. Two minutes later the Bay’s 18 year old keeper did well to keep out a shot from Fisher with his feet.
Whitley then created three chances in as many minutes as they forced the visitors back on the defensive. With 34 minutes played, Jasper crossed to Glen-Ravenhill whose shot was kept out by a defender.
Moments later Josh Nearney crossed from the right by-line and once again Glen-Ravenhill’s first time shot was blocked. Then a perfect through ball from Aiden Haley set Jasper clear but keeper Mark Bell raced off his line to prevent what looked like a certain equaliser. Two minutes later Whitley’s seemingly endless injury jinx struck again when the impressive Haley suffered a groin strain and was unable to continue. Andy Robertson came off the bench with Glen-Ravenhill dropping back into midfield.
West Auckland struck a major blow to Whitley’s hopes just a minute before the interval when Anthony Bell doubled their lead after exchanging passes with Fisher on the left of the 18 yard box.
Just after half time, Purewal forced a good save from Lister after cutting in behind the Bay defence. Lister then parried an effort from fisher before the ball was cleared to safety by Ross Wilkinson. Whitley’s best chance of the half came two minutes later when Potter’s excellent cross into the box was glanced just wide by Jasper.
The game was as good as over at the midway point of the half when slack marking allowed Purewal to head home Mitchell’s left wing corner virtually unchallenged from the centre of the six yard box.
Whitley never gave up and Kyle Patton’s cross from close to the by-line was only fractionally too high for the in-rushing Jasper.
17 year old Cam Cunningham, another of the promising youngsters from the reserves who is clearly one for the future, came on for the final 15 minutes and showed no fear producing some neat touches but it was too late to influence the outcome of the game as West Auckland, whose finishing was more clinical, ran out deserved winners.