WHITLEY Bay counted themselves unlucky to go out of the FA Cup at Kendal on Saturday after dominating the second half against the Evo-Stik premier division side.
Kendal had the better of the first half and deservedly led through a 21st minute goal, but it was a different story after the break when Whitley failed to convert superiority into goals.
In a rousing finish, strong appeals for a Bay penalty in the last minute were turned down.
Robbie Dale and Phill Bell were preferred to Paul Chow and Lee Kerr, who were both on the bench.
Playing up the slope Whitley struggled to make an impact and Kendal went close when captain Marc Joseph’s shot went just over the bar.
Kendal’s new signing Kevin Leadbetter was prominent for down the right with the visitors at times guilty of standing off and allowing their opponents too much time on the ball.
In Whitley’s first attack, David Pounder tried his luck from distance but the ball was off target.
The home side went in front when Wayne Curtis saw a shot across goal deflected beyond the far post for a corner.
Walmsley’s set-piece was punched clear by Kyle Hayes but Leadbetter, out on the right, fired in a low shot that skimmed across the wet turf and went in at the near post.
Whitley fought back and two minutes later Craig McFarlane tested Craig Dootson with a low shot.
The visitors came more into the game and Lee Paul Scroggins broke down the right and closed in on goal but his final ball was cut out by the home defence.
Gary Ormston then tried a lob into the goalmouth but it was collected by Dootson.
Whitley’s best effort in a disappointing half came with five minutes left when Scroggins went past a defender and drove the ball inches beyond the upright from 15 yards.
Right on half-time Whitley went close when McFarlane’s cross was inch perfect for Bell as he rose above the home defence but his header was off target.
After the interval Bay were quickly into their stride and they should have equalised when McFarlane’s shot was pushed away by Dootson and great work by Dale mesmerised the Kendal defence and his low ball into the goalmouth picked out the unmarked Scroggins but with the goal at his mercy he failed to get sufficient contact and the chance was gone.
The game opened up with Whitley pushing forward and putting the home defence under pressure.
A shot from Scroggins took a deflection as it whistled past the post.
Then a clumsy challenge gave Bay a free kick inside the D directly in front of goal.
Kerr was promptly brought off the bench and took the kick himself but the ball went just over the bar.
A great shot from out on the wing from McFarlane looked to be heading for the top corner but curled wide at the last minute.
Bell and Scroggins went close before a Darren Timmons diving header was narrowly off target.
Whitley were almost caught out when Leadbetter forced Hayes to push a shot round the post with nine minutes left.
A late substitution saw Chow brought on and in the 89th minute he was involved in the game’s most contentious decision.
Racing in on goal he was bundled to the ground by Joseph as he entered the penalty area.
Bay argued that the foul took place inside the 18-yard box but the officials claimed the contact which took him down took place outside the box and a free kick was awarded.
The drama was still not over and Kerr’s free kick looked to be heading for the far corner until Dootson h, pulled off a great save in palming the ball wide of goal.
Deep into the five minutes of added time, Whitley won a corner on the left and even keeper Hayes joined the attack.
But the ball was cleared and Bay were out the FA Cup.
Whitley were given a tremendous ovation by the large and vociferous band of fans who made the trip to Cumbria.
Whitley Bay: Hayes, Ormston (Kerr 72 mins), McFarlane, Timmons, Anderson, Williams, Scroggins, Robson (Chow 83 mins), Dale, Pounder, Bell (Robinson 79 mins). Subs not used: Rowe, Smith, Reid.