Shanks strikes late to put Whitley Bay through in FA Cup

Adam Shanks, who scored the winner for Whitley Bay against Heaton Stannington in the FA Cup.
Adam Shanks, who scored the winner for Whitley Bay against Heaton Stannington in the FA Cup.

A goal nine minutes from time from substitute Adam Shanks earned Whitley Bay victory over Heaton Stannington to see them through to the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The Hillheads side now face a trip to Derbyshire to take on Matlock Town a week on Saturday.

The local derby was no classic cup tie, but the second division visitors were certainly not overawed by the occasion and held their own for much of the game.

But had Whitley been more clinical in their finishing it might have been a different story.

The contest was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the Shoreham air crash, in which two Worthing United footballers lost their lives.

The first chance fell to the home side with Chris Reid heading over the bar from mark Bertram’s corner.

Almost immediately, Heaton responded with Jon Wright playing the ball across the face of the Bay goal and wide of the far post.

Midway through the half a shot from Michael Laws took a deflection past keeper Shaun Backhouse but also just beyond the post.

Brian Dodsworth then had an opportunity for Heaton, but the best chance of the opening period came on the half hour when Alex Kempster crossed from the wing but with the goal at his mercy, Kris Hughes blazed the ball high over the bar.

Four minutes later, Bay keeper Andy Jennison leapt high to his right to push a deep cross from Lewis Axon away from the goal while in another Heaton attack, Richard Hoggins put the ball high over the bar.

Defender Phil Lumsden, who was making his debut for Whitley, nearly broke the deadlock in the 36th minute but his volley following a Bertram corner was cleared off the line.

In the final action of the first half, it took a timely tackle from Reid to prevent Wright from going clear on goal.

Whitley were forced into making a substitution early in the second half with Lumsden suffering from a tight hamstring, Sam Norris taking his place.

Another excellent chance fell Whitley’s way eight minutes in when an accurate ball set Hughes clear on goal but he failed to capitalise, skying the ball over the bar.

Heaton then made a double substitution which saw former Whitley fringe player Lewis Burns brought into their attack.

Whitley were now creating the better chances and on the hour, Norris played in Stephen Young but Backhouse raced out of goal to deflect the ball wide, but in doing so he aggravated an injury and a few minutes later had to be replaced by substitute keeper Daniel Rule.

With 69 minutes on the clock, Reid appeared to be held back by a defender near the goal line at a Bay corner and referee Lindsey Robinson awarded a penalty, with Reid himself comfortably beating Rule from the spot to put Whitley in front.

The joy of the home fans was short-lived, however, and it was the Heaton supporters who were celebrating less than 60 seconds later when straight from the restart the visitors broke downfield and a lack of concentration in the home defence allowed Ben Telford to cross into the six-yard box where the unmarked Hoggins headed home the equaliser.

Having played with just Stephen Young up front in a 4-5-1 formation, the change that many Bay fans had been calling for took place with just over ten minutes remaining, when striker Shanks was brought off the bench in an effort to bring extra impetus to Whitley’s attack, and the moved brought almost immediate success.

A good flowing move saw Sam Norris advance down the right wing before sending a low cross into the box where Young left the ball, allowing it to run into the path of Shanks, who with virtually his first touch slotted it past Rule from six yards.

Heaton tried to get back in the game and force a replay, with Burns putting a shot over the bar, but then Shanks nearly set up a third for Whitley, cutting past a defender into the box and moments later trying a back-heel that just failed to reach Kempster as he closed in on goal.

A late attack from the visitors was repelled with Chris McDonald’s clearance upfield relieving the pressure and it was not long before Whitley were celebrating victory.

Heaton however deserved credit for a gutsy performance and battling all the way to the final whistle.

Bay manager Paddy Atkinson was happy with the victory, but admitted that it had not been easy for his side.

He said: “It’s hard going when you let teams stay in the game. We missed a lot of chances today, the tempo wasn’t there.”

Explaining his decision to play with just one striker, he said: “Until we can get those players up front that I’m after, we have to play a particular way.”

Asked if he’d considered playing Young and Shanks together up front from the start, he said: “Yes I did, but you’ve got to think of the team and who you’re playing against and how they play.

“Playing 4-5-1 allows you to have three in the centre of midfield so you have the extra man to win the ball and that can stifle some teams because they can’t cope with it.”

As well as another striker, the manager revealed that he is on the look out to strengthen his midfield.

“We’ve got good footballers, a good set of lads, but we need a leader in midfield, someone with that bit of iron,” he added.

Whitley Bay: Jennison, Lumsden (Norris 51), McDonald, Gibson, Laws, Reid, Hughes, Bertram, Young (Flynn 90), Richardson (Shanks 79), Kempster. Subs not used: Anderson, Day.