TWO second half goals earned Whitley Bay FC a place in the next round of the FA Cup after they came from behind to beat Bishop Auckland at Hillheads on Saturday.
The home side had to work hrad for the win as the visitors were deservedly in front at the break.
But Bay stepped up their game after the interval and two excellent goals earned them a home tie with Marske United in two weeks time.
Damon Robson was missing from the starting line-up through a knee injury suffered at Penrith in midweek, but Gareth Williams was back in the team, as was Lee Kerr, who missed the midweek game through work commitments.
In Robson’s absence, LeePaul Scroggins was named captain.
The game was preceded by an impeccably observed one minute silence in memory of two former players and a long serving supporter who died during the summer.
Ray Oliver played for both Whitley Bay and Bishop Auckland in the 1950s and was the first Bay player to score 100 goals for the club, while Bobby Cain was a member of the championship winning side in 1965 and supporter Bob Pinkney was a club vice-president.
Inside three minutes Whitley might have gone ahead but Gary Ormston’s cross to the back post was played into the side netting by David Pounder.
The visitors were quick to close down on Whitley’s midfield, denying them possession with some determined tackling, and they went in front on 12 minutes.
The ball was played into the goalmouth by Daniel Hawkins and Bay keeper Jonny Ball looked to be unsighted as the ball took a deflection before what appeared to be a lack of communication in defence resulted in Gareth Williams making a late attempted clearance only to put the ball into his own net.
The goal did little for the confidence of Whitley’s young reserve keeper, who not long after failed to collect a shot that bounced off his chest and just beyond the reach of an opponent.
Whitley should have equalised after 19 minutes but Paul Robinson appeared to miss hit the ball at the back post following a good cross from Craig McFarlane which beat the Bishops defence and only needed a tap in.
Ball reacted well to taunts from the visiting fans with a good diving save to push away a low shot from Andrew Johnson after 25 minutes as the visitors threatened a second goal which could have put the game beyond Whitley.
Auckland were frustrating Whitley with their hard tackling and Robinson in particular was getting little space in which to create openings.
Passes were going astray and there was a lack of penetration by Whitley.
Strong appeals for a Whitley penalty were waved away after Robbie Dale looked to be tugged to the ground by a defender, but the referee deemed that both players were equally guilty.
In first half stoppage time Whitley went close when a free kick 20 yards from goal by Kerr crashed off the inside of the post and back across the face of goal and away from danger.
Whitley needed to get back in the game as soon as possible after half-time and within 90 seconds they were level when Dale’s ball played McFarlane away down the right.
His pace took him clear of the defence and from about 20 yards out he fired the ball past keeper Bishop.
The goal seemed to transform Whitley and soon after they created another chance when Scroggins was put through by Dale, but when the ball fell to Robinson, his attempted chip shot lacked sufficient power. Ten minutes into the half, Ormston had a great chance to put Whitley in front but his header from McFarlane’s cross was off target.
Whitley were beginning to enjoy more success down the right wing with McFarlane proving more effective.
A few minutes later a clever back heel by Dale provided Robinson with a chance but McLane did well to block his shot.
The decisive goal came with 63 minutes on the clock, and while it may be something of a cliché, it is certainly true to say that it was a goal worthy of winning any match.
Kerr burst through on the right of midfield and from fully 25 yards out he fired a spectacular shot into the top corner of the net that left Bishop rooted to the spot.
Whitley were looking the better side now but Bishops were still a threat and Ball had to make a diving save to deny Johnson.
Ormston played an influential role for Whitley, working hard to win the ball in defence and midfield as he covered a lot of ground.
Both sides made substitutions as the game entered the last 20 minutes, with Phill Bell making a welcome return for Whitley.
Late on he put the ball just over the bar following a cross from Pounder, but with the game in the first of a six-minute period of added time, Johnson wasted a gilt edged opportunity to force a replay when he failed to hit the target when faced with an open goal.
Whitley Bay: Ball, Anderson, Pounder, Timmons, Ormston, Williams, McFarlane, Scroggins, Kerr (Bell 77 mins), Dale (Smith 75 mins), Robinson (Chow 69 mins). Subs not used: Rowe, C Bell, Robson.