A severely depleted Whitley Bay side suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Morpeth Town on Saturday.
No fewer than seven first team players were missing from the starting 11 due to injuries and illness.
Had it not been for an outstanding display from debutant goalkeeper Richard Harley the margin of defeat could have been greater, but he thwarted the home side with a series of excellent saves during the first half.
Seven minutes after the interval he was finally beaten by a powerful shot from Sean Taylor.
Then 14 minutes from time, Michael Chilton’s header ended any hopes of a Bay recovery.
Ian Chandler was hoping to have a stronger side available for Tuesday night when Penrith were the visitors to Hillheads.
Saturday sees Whitley play their final home game of the year when they welcome bottom of the table Billingham Town to Hillheads.
The Teessiders are enduring a very difficult season and have suffered a number of heavy defeats so Whitley will be expected to take all three points and thereby consolidate their mid-table placing.
There is no Boxing Day fixture so Whitley’s final game of the year will be on Saturday, December 28, when they travel to North Yorkshire to take on Guisborough Town, a side currently in good form with five wins in their last six games.
When the sides met at Hillheads in September, the game was abandoned due to fog with Whitley leading 2-1.
Whitley’s opening match of 2014 will be a home game against Ashington on Saturday, January 4.
The Colliers, managed by former Bay captain Gary Middleton, are currently in the top four of the Northern League and are enjoying their best season for many years so they will be tough opponents.