WHITLEY Bay manager Ian Chandler described his side’s 3-0 win over Ashington as “one of the most comfortable games against the Colliers for a while”.
The Seahorses boss had called for his squad to seek revenge against the Wansbeck outfit after they had knocked the Bay out of the Northumberland Senior Cup in January.
And it was a perfect night in every sense as Whitley brushed the Colliers aside with ease whilst his squad picked up no fresh injuries.
Chandler said: “We started like a house on fire and I think we could have been three or four up in the first five minutes as we looked comfortable and were dominant.
“But after that first 20 minutes where we played really well and got the goal, I think Ashington must have had a shake and they started putting themselves about and getting the ball forward.”
Chandler felt the game could have been in the bag early doors.
“I was quite pleased at one-nil at half-time, but I would have been happier with three or four,” he added.
“They were good chances as well – not half chances – and Craig McFarlane really should have hit the target after only 45 seconds.
“Chris Fawcett also missed a couple of opportunities and I thought it was going to be one of those games where the longer the game went on, Ashington would come back into the contest.”
Chandler also collared the tag of ‘inspired substitutions’ as both half-time replacements, Paul Chow and Lee Kerr, combined immediately after the restart resulting in a decisive second for the Bay.
“We took Glen Taylor and Lee Mason off and put Lee Kerr and Paul Chow on, which is a bit of a good thing to have up your sleeve,” he said.
“After that I thought we took the sting out of Ashington.
“It didn’t appear as if they had any kind of comeback at us and looked void of ideas.
“They went so far with Phill Bell, Johnny Wightman and Stephen Young all working hard, but I wasn’t worried.
“Most games against Ashington you’re really worried, but the second half we dominated and created a few chances – their keeper (Steven Mundy) has made a couple of saves and then Paul Robinson got the third.
“It was a case of seeing the game out and it was a good workout in preparation for the Vase tie.
“But I’ve got to admit that I was surprised because it was one of the most comfortable games against Ashington for a while.”
The boss applauded the approach by the Colliers to bring the game forward from the Saturday to the Friday night.
“I’m pleased Ashington mentioned the possibility of the Friday night game because it gave us an extra 24 hours for our Vase tie – and every little bit helps,” he said.