Robertson goals see Whitley Bay complete double over North Shields

Whitley Bay's Andy Robertson fires home the second goal against North Shields.
Whitley Bay's Andy Robertson fires home the second goal against North Shields.

Whitley Bay completed a memorable Northern League double over near neighbours North Shields on Easter Monday thanks to two first half goals from Andy Robertson.

The young striker has been in prolific form in the reserves this season but had not played a first team game for almost two years.

He was only called up because of injuries to the home side’s two first choice strikers, but he had the Hillheads fans in raptures as he grabbed his opportunity in style.

Forwards Adam Shanks and Ash Davis were not the only absentees from a severely depleted Bay starting line-up, defender Stuart Bramley and midfielder Callum Munro were also both sidelined.

Shields were also below full strength with Marc Lancaster having suffered a dislocated shoulder two days earlier.

Almost one thousand fans were packed into Hillheads for the North Tyneside derby, making it the biggest crowd of the season, and it was those in blue and white who had most to cheer and had smiles on their faces at the final whistle.

In the early exchanges Jordan Summerly drove a free kick over the bar for Shields while the lively Chris Youldon threatened for Whitley.

Bay’s Steve Gibson was cautioned after 11 minutes for a trip on Dan Wilson near the halfway line when the Shields striker was about to break clear.

The opening goal came in the 17th minute after a Whitley corner was not cleared and two attempts on goal had been blocked. The ball eventually broke to Jake Fowler wide on the right and he played a well flighted cross into the 18-yard box where Robertson got ahead of his marker and directed his header beyond keeper Sean McCafferty and into the far corner of the net.

At this stage Shields were posing little threat, with a cross from the right across the face of goal being the only time that Bay keeper Tom Flynn was required to make a save during the first half.

Just before the half hour, a ball played over the Shields defence nearly set up Youldon for a chance on goal but McCafferty raced off his line to make the clearance.

The home side doubled their lead three minutes before half-time when Flynn’s goal kick was flicked forward by Alex Kempster and Robertson outpaced defender John Parker before calmly slotting the ball past McCafferty from ten yards, much to the delight of the Bay fans.

Going into the game as underdogs, Bay now had a two-goal cushion and fully deserved their interval advantage.

Shields made three changes at the break, with striker Gareth Bainbridge one of those replaced as they attempted to force their way back into the game.

For their part, Whitley replaced Aiden Haley with Shanks, who although not fully fit was still able to make a valuable contribution in the second half.

Within two minutes of the restart, Whitley were forced into another substitution when Gibson having to be helped from the pitch.

The large and initially vociferous following of North Shields fans had become subdued and watched in silence as their side struggled to make an impression on the game.

While the Robins were having a greater share of possession they were still failing to break down a solid Bay defence in which Richard Flynn was having probably his best game since joining from Ashington last year.

Substitute Lee Mason, who had a spell at Hillheads five years ago, was posing the main threat for the Robins, and after weaving his way into the penalty area he fired narrowly wide.

Moments later his powerful effort was superbly finger-tipped over the bar by Flynn.

At the other end, a 20-yard curling shot from Shanks was comfortably held by McCafferty, then with 20 minutes remaining, Shields’ Curtis Coppen was booked after bringing Kempster down in full flight.

With 15 minutes remaining, Robertson was replaced by Josh Day and received a tremendous ovation from the Bay fans.

Shields kept plugging away without putting the Whitley defence under serious pressure.

Richardson drilled a first time effort over the bar and then Peter Glen-Ravenhill side-footed the ball straight at Flynn from six yards.

With time running out, the Bay keeper pounced on the ball after a goalmouth scramble following a left wing corner and Whitley comfortably saw out five minutes of stoppage time before celebrating a victory which earned them bragging rights over their North Tyneside rivals.

Whitley Bay: T Flynn, McFarlane, McDonald, Anderson, Gibson (Prosser 47), R Flynn, Haley (Shanks 46), Fowler, Robertson (Day 75), Youldon, Kempster. Subs not used: Gladstone, Ivanov.

North Shields: McCafferty, Brooking, Summerly, Ormston, Parker (Hughes 46), Coppen, Glen-Ravenhill, Richardson, Bainbridge (Mason 46), Wilson, McGorrigan (McKeown 46).

Attendance: 954.