A hat-trick from 17-year-old Kyle Patton saw Whitley Bay to a comfortable victory over West Auckland and extended their unbeaten run to an impressive nine games.
During an uneventful first half, Bay’s youthful side, which included another 17-year-old in debutant keeper Dan Lister, struggled to get to grips with an experienced and at times physical West Auckland outfit.
But in the proverbial game of two halves, Whitley took control after the interval and in their final home game of the season played fast and attractive football that sent their fans home happy.
On a fine and sunny spring afternoon the first half entertainment did not match the weather, with few attempts on target at either end and Dan Lister, deputising for the suspended Tom Flynn, was never put under pressure and dealt comfortably with two long range shots and a header just before the interval, while at the other end, the only effort of note was Charmey’s first time shot that was not far off target from McDonald’s long throw.
In a tactical change at half time, Aiden Haley was brought on in place of Tom Potter as Whitley changed their formation to provide more attacking options. The move paid off eleven minutes into the second half when Kyle Patton won possession near the halfway line and sprinted through the West Auckland defence before slotting his shot beyond keeper Gareth Shaw and into the net off the inside of the far post.
Two minutes later Craig Ruddy drove a free kick off the outside of the post for the visitors before Whitley responded with Callum Patton and Andy Robertson both having shots saved by Shaw.
With 65 minutes played, Alex Kempster took the ball down the right to near the by-line and when he crossed into the box, Kyle Patton was on hand to flick the ball home from four yards to double the lead. Whitley were in complete control now and little more than 90 seconds later Patton completed an eleven minute hat-trick, firing home the rebound after brother Callum had seen his shot blocked by Shaw.
The game was now won and Marc Nash took the opportunity to give Jack Byerley his first team debut, replacing Tom Gilbey who had returned to the side after recovering from injury.
In another substitution, Peter Glen-Ravenhill was brought on for the final 15 minutes in place of Kyle Patton, who received a tremendous ovation as he left the pitch. The substitute made it a lucky 13th appearance, getting on the score sheet for the first time following excellent work by Kempster who chased a ball down the right, just managing to keep it in play. He cut it back across the six yard box where an Auckland defender failed to intercept it and Glen-Ravenhill was left with a simple tap in for Whitley’s fourth goal. There were chances to add to the score in the remaining seven minutes as heads dropped in a dispirited West Auckland side, whose best chance was wasted when Hickman headed wide from close range. Late on, Shaw kept out a shot from Glen-Ravenhill with his feet. The victory moved Whitley up to sixth place in the table, a position few fans would have predicted at the start of the season. At the final whistle, the players stayed on the field to applaud the fans for their support throughout the season, a gesture that was clearly appreciated.
Whitley Bay: Lister, Gilbey (Byerley 70), McDonald, C Patton, Wilkinson, Anderson, Potter (Haley 46), Charmey, Robertson, Kempster, K Patrton (Glen-Ravenhill 75). Sub not used: Allen.
h20 Bathrooms man of the match: Kyle Patton.
Whitley Bay’s only fixture over the Easter weekend is on Good Friday when they visit West Allotment Celtic for a local derby, kick-off noon.