Pre-season victory for Bay

Whitley Bay twice came from behind to record their first pre-season victory in a keenly contested game at Hillheads.

Whitley were without Chris Reid, Callum Anderson and Chris Fawcett, and with Paul Chow on the bench, Craig McFarlane captained the side.

Whitley looked much livelier than in their previous three games and but for an outstanding display by Allotment keeper Ryan Beal they would have been at least two goals ahead inside the first half hour.

With just eight minutes played, Beal got his fingertips to a lob from James Fairley, pushing the ball over the bar and he then produced another fine save to deny Paul Antony.

Meanwhile, the visitors were certainly playing their part and went close when Liam Hudson was allowed space on the right but he was denied by Josh Carmichael, who raced out to block his shot.

With Fairley and Davis posing problems for the Second Division team, Whitley created several more good chances only to be denied by the keeper and were looking the better side, but they fell behind just on the half hour when a misplaced header in defence was seized on by Hudson who flashed a first time effort past Carmichael.

The goal seemed to knock Whitley’s confidence and they struggled to create much in the remainder of the half so at the interval it was Allotment who led by the only goal.

The second half saw an almost completely changed visiting line up, while Whitley brought on Paul Chow, Brad Brooking, Justin Perry and keeper Jonny Ball.

Little had been seen of new signing Liam McBryde in the first half but ten minutes after the restart he levelled the score with an excellent shot from the edge of the penalty area after shaking off two defenders.

However, the visitors were back in front within a minute, when Jonny Ball failed to collect a cross from the left by Tony Lancaster and Michael Bell headed home from close range.

Whitley responded immediately and might have equalised for a second time when Craig McFarlane raced forward and crossed from the right only for Brooking’s first time effort to fly just the wrong side of the post.

With McFarlane now operating from midfield, Whitley were looking much more dangerous and his cross saw McBryde put an effort only just over the bar. McFarlane then fired a 20 yard shot through a crowded defence and the ball crashed off the base of the post with keeper Bannon well beaten.

Allotment were coming under increasing pressure and were having to dig deep to keep themselves in front but with 15 minutes to go,

Whitley reaped their reward when Michael Coglen’s ball over the defence found Paul Chow ten yards out and he finished in style to put Whitley back on terms.

Moments later Chow almost put Whitley in front with a back post header from another McFarlane cross, but the ball cleared the bar.

With the pressure continuing to mount, the winner came just a minute later when McBryde, now growing in confidence, played the ball into the path of Brad Brooking who fired home from ten yards.

Brooking, who had looked a shadow of his normal self in previous friendlies, was now back on song and might have completed a hat trick, as twice in the space of three minutes he tested Bannon with powerful efforts that kept the keeper on his toes.

Five minutes from time, Justin Perry’s header almost brought Whitley a fourth goal but the ball hit the top of the bar.

A late flurry of attacks by the visitors briefly threatened but Whitley were in no mood to relinquish their lead and they deservedly claimed a confidence boosting victory.