Shanks hat-trick in vain as Whitley Bay lose out to Dunston

Whitley Bay striker Adam Shanks.
Whitley Bay striker Adam Shanks.

Adam Shanks scored a hat-trick for Whitley Bay but still ended up on the losing side after an eight-goal thriller at Hillheads on Tuesday evening.

The home striker’s triple took his tally for the season to 37, but it was visitors Dunston UTS who took the points in a 5-3 win.

Stuart Bramley and Steve Gibson both returned to the Bay side following injury, but Richard Flynn was missing through suspension and Callum Anderson was not fully fit so was named only as a substitute.

Less than three minutes had been played when former Bay reserves striker Malcolm Morien struck the post for Dunston following a free kick.

But the home side responded well and took the lead in the sixth minute when Shanks found himself in space on the left and rounded keeper Liam Connell before slotting the ball home from ten yards.

Nine minutes later, Connell was almost caught out by a corner from Chris McDonald but managed to push the ball over the bar.

The Dunston keeper then made a fine one handed save to keep out a Shanks header following a well placed cross from McDonald.

At the other end, Guerin blazed over when well placed before Dunston drew level on 23 minutes when Morien drove the ball inside the far post.

Seven minutes later the visitors went ahead and it was Guerin, who spent the early part of the season at Hillheads, who capitalised on some weak defending to turn the game on its head.

Dunston were threatening with every attack but the lively Morien was denied by a good save from Flynn.

The Gateshead side extended their lead after 38 minutes when James Luccock reacted quickly after the ball rebounded off Flynn and into his path and he tapped home from close range.

The scoreline was hardly a fair reflection of the game, but it was soon to change.

Less than two minutes had passed when Jake Fowler’s corner was allowed to bounce in the six-yard box and Shanks seized his chance to poke it into the net.

Another Fowler corner three minutes later brought the equaliser when Shanks leapt above the Dunston defence to head powerfully home and leave the sides level at the interval.

After a first half with six goals and with both sides guilty of some poor defending, it was perhaps not surprising that the second period began more cautiously and with fewer chances.

It took ten minutes for the first opportunity to arise and when it did, Flynn made an excellent save when Morien broke through with only the keeper to beat.

In the 58th minute Whitley were awarded a penalty when Callum Patton was tripped in the area. The visitors hotly disputed the decision but when calm had been restored, Shanks saw his spot kick well saved by Connell diving low to his left.

When Fowler was substituted midway through the half, Dunston began to take control of midfield and took the lead in the 70th minute in rather fortuitous circumstances.

A deep cross from the left looked like a regulation save for Flynn, but just as he went for the ball, the Bay keeper slipped, leaving Steven Bowey with a simple header to put Dunston back in front.

Four minutes later, a scramble in the Bay goalmouth ended with Flynn making a great point blank save to keep Whitley in with a chance.

However, their hopes were extinguished 11 minutes from time when Morien slotted the ball home from a tight angle.

They kept battling away and Craig McFarlane tried his luck with a long range shot that flew over the bar, while at the other end, Flynn denied Morien with a good save.

After two consecutive wins, a disappointing result and Whitley will be hoping to bounce back when they return to Hillheads to face Sunderland RCA on Saturday.

Whitley Bay: Flynn, McFarlane, McDonald, Bramley, Gibson, Munro (Anderson 63) Haley, Fowler (Davis 68), Shanks, Patton, Kempster. Subs not sed: Gladstone, Day, Blake.