Robinson and Laws goals earn Whitley Bay three points

Celebrations after number four Michael Laws scored Whitley Bay's second goal at Guisborough.
Celebrations after number four Michael Laws scored Whitley Bay's second goal at Guisborough.

Whitley Bay returned to winning ways with a well deserved victory at Guisborough on Saturday.

Two first half goals put them firmly in control and it was only five minutes from the time when the home side reduced the deficit.

Despite Brad Brooking pulling out with an injury during the pre-match warm-up, Whitley were still able to field a strong side, with Callum Anderson and Paul Chow both returning to the starting 11.

After early Bay attacks when a diving header from Michael Laws went wide of goal and Craig McFarlane’s ball into the goalmouth was collected by keeper Nick Liversedge, the hosts twice had shots on target, with Dan Gladstone, who was having to contend with the dazzle from the low sun, saving from James Risbrough and then Danny Earl.

Chances continued to come at both ends and after Peter Watling had a shot blocked, a quick break downfield ended with Risbrough heading over the bar.

When Gladstone raced out of his goal to make a clearance, the home side claimed that the keeper had handled the ball outside the penalty area, but the referee dismissed the appeals and play continued.

Whitley made the breakthrough after 21 minutes when Chris McDonald cut the ball back from the left corner of the Guisborough penalty area into the path of Paul Robinson, whose low shot towards the far corner of the net was helped on its way by the outstretched foot of a defender.

The goal was just the tonic that Whitley needed and they proceeded to take control of the game, restricting the Yorkshiremen to half chances with the midfield and defence looking more assured than in recent games.

Paul Chow thought he had doubled the Bay lead after 34 minutes when he poked home the loose ball after Liversedge had fumbled a free kick from Robinson, but it was ruled out by an offside flag.

Three minutes later Whitley did get a second goal and it was the hard-working Chow who set up the opportunity.

He took the ball off the toes of a defender some 25 yards out on the right before playing it down the wing to Robbie Bird who cut in and provided the perfect cross which Laws volleyed home from eight yards.

The goal left Whitley and their large following elated while the home side appeared to be losing their discipline and were arguing among themselves.

Playing down the slope in the second half, Whitley continued to look the better side and they might have earned a penalty when Bird was through on goal inside the 18-yard box and appeared to be bundled to the ground.

The same player, whose pace was causing problems for the home defence, was then unceremoniously brought down after turning past his opponent, but the resulting free kick came to nothing.

A shot from Anderson cleared the bar and another effort from Watling took a deflection off Chow as Whitley pressed for a third goal that would have settled the game.

The Guisborough attack lacked a cutting edge and it came as something of a surprise when they pulled a goal back with five minutes remaining, Risbrough firing past Gladstone after a shot had been blocked.

Whitley still created chances in the closing stages and both Anderson and Chow were denied before late substitute Jonny Godsmark might have got a third after closing in on goal but unselfishly squared the ball to Watling who was denied a shot on target.

In stoppage time, several high balls played into the Bay goalmouth by the home side were confidently dealt with by Gladstone and his defence, and after the final whistle it was a happy Leon Ryan who heaped praise on his entire squad for what he described as a great team performance.

Whitley Bay: Gladstone, McDonald, McFarlane, Laws, Ryan, Reid, Bird, Anderson, Watling, Chow (Godsmark 90), Robinson (Ellison 79). Subs not used: Smith, Foster, Redford.