Whitley Bay 1-1 Washington
It took a goal by Scott Jasper two minutes from time to earn Whitley a point against lowly Washington on what was a frustrating night for the home side and their fans.
Whitley were missing captain Callum Anderson and striker Andy Robertson through injury and they found themselves a goal down inside the first minute. Former Bay winger Robbie Williamson capitalised on slipshod defending to drill the ball across Tom Flynn and into the far corner of the net with just 45 seconds played.
Shaken by this setback, Whitley gradually worked their way into the game and after six minutes, a weak back pass almost put Liam Brooks through on goal. Two minutes later they nearly levelled the score when Thibault Charmey struck a powerful shot from 18 yards and the ball took a deflection before another ex-Bay player, keeper Dan Gladstone got a foot to the ball to keep it out.
Whitley were getting on top, forcing corners and dominating possession but the end product was missing. Scott Jasper twice went close, firstly curling a shot past the post and then his header from Charmey’s ball into the box was pushed wide at full stretch by Gladstone. In the 38th minute Michael Hall crossed for Charmey but his attempt was blocked before the ball was played out as far as Jack Walker whose 25 yard shot flew inches over the bar.
Washington were increasingly happy to slow the game down and soak up pressure by putting men behind the ball and the strategy was proving effective as they retained the lead at the interval.
After the break Kyle Patton replaced Liam Brooks as Whitley battled to get back in the game. Wilkinson headed over the bar from Potter’s corner then Jasper’s header was also just too high. Gladstone saved another Jasper header, this time following Potter’s free kick. On the hour, in a rare break upfield, Washington skipper Alex White headed over the bar from a corner but play soon reverted to the other end. A free kick from Nearney was punched clear by Gladstone but only as far as Charmey whose lob dropped narrowly wide of the target.
Alex Kempster, Whitley’s captain on the night, epitomised the spirit in the team, working tirelessly to set up goalscoring opportunities but it was beginning to look as if they would never score. Charmey’s through ball set up a chance for Kyle Patton on the left and his shot wrong-footed Gladstone as it took a deflection off Andrew Brown and went just past the post. Substitute Matty Cornish went close three minutes after his introduction, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner. Matthew waters had an attempt saved by Flynn but Whitley kept on going and they were finally rewarded with just over two minutes of the ninety remaining when Aiden Haley’s shot from the edge of the box was only parried by Gladstone, and Scott Jasper pounced on the loose ball, ramming it home from close range.
In stoppage time Whitley might have claimed all three points but a free kick flew narrowly wide with Jasper just failing to make contact at the back post.
Once again, a late goal had earned Whitley a point and extended their unbeaten run to seven games but they will feel that it was two points dropped rather than one gained. Credit though is due to Washington who battled hard throughout.
WHITLEY BAY: Flynn, Nearney, Hall(Glen-Ravenhill 87mins), Haley, Wilkinson, Walker, Potter, Charmey(Cornish 75mins), Jasper, Brooks(K Patton 46mins), Kempster
Not used: Summers, Anderson
Referee: David Pill
h2o Bathrooms Man of the Match: Alex Kempster