Three in a row for Whitley Bay with win at Newton Aycliffe
Whitley Bay made it three wins in a row with a well deserved victory at Newton Aycliffe on Saturday.
Two goals midway through the first half put them in control and they never looked likely to relinquish their grip on the game.
Nicky Allen replaced the injured Tom Gilbey in defence while Tom Potter was recalled to the starting line-up.
On a difficult playing surface which quickly cut up badly, there were few early chances as both teams struggled to adapt to the conditions.
The first attempt came in the 11th minute when Aycliffe’s Ben Trotter poked the ball over the bar.
After a period of scrappy play with passes going astray, Whitley made the breakthrough on 26 minutes. Alex Kempster played the ball through to Andy Robertson who rifled it past keeper Phil Pentony from the right edge of the Aycliffe penalty area.
Three minutes later Whitley doubled their lead after Kempster had been needlessly tripped inside the box by defender James Marley when the ball appeared to be running out of play. Callum Patton sent Pentony the wrong way from the penalty spot to put the visitors firmly in control.
Aycliffe tried to get back into the game but their final ball was poor, with several shots flying well wide of the target.
Meanwhile, Kyle Patton was making life difficult for the home defence with his pace down the left wing. Just before the half-time whistle, good play between Potter and Robertson ended with Potter’s shot being pushed behind by the keeper.
Whitley dealt comfortably with pressure from Aycliffe at the start of the second half and might have extended their lead when Callum Patton’s shot was not held by Pentony, who struggled to gather the ball and was fortunate that no Bay player was on hand to apply the finishing touch.
There was a delay ten minutes into the half when Kyle Patton was injured in a poor challenge and needed lengthy treatment and was unable to continue, hobbling off with a nasty ankle injury.
Just past the hour, Callum Patton and Thibault Charmey combined to set up a chance for Kempster but he was denied by a fine double save from Pentony.
Whitley’s injury woes grew a few minutes later when Tom Potter went down with a knee injury following another robust challenge and had to be replaced, Oliver Long coming on for his first appearance in Bay colours.
Having missed the target by some distance in previous attempts, Aycliffe went close in the 74th minute when Aaron Brown’s first time effort just cleared the bar, although Flynn looked to have the ball covered.
At the other end, Long was almost through on goal but his shot was blocked by the keeper.
Whitley appeared to be seeing out the game comfortably until a misplaced pass four minutes from time allowed the home side to break away and Trotter slotted home from close range to set up a tense final few minutes.
With the game entering stoppage time, substitute Liam Brooks had a glorious chance to seal victory for Whitley when he found himself through on goal but he fired the ball straight at Pentony.
Bay nerves were finally eased three minutes into added time when Charmey seized possession inside the Aycliffe penalty area and drilled the ball home to the delight of his team mates and the sizeable contingent of Bay fans.
The victory moved Whitley five points clear of Aycliffe and with other rivals also dropping points, they are now comfortably placed in eighth position in the table.
On Saturday Whitley Bay will hope to extend their winning run when Jarrow Roofing are the visitors for the only game at Hillheads during March.
Whitley Bay: Flynn, Allen, McDonald, Charmey, Anderson, Wilkinson, Potter (Long 68), C Patton, Robertson, Kempster (Brooks 84), K Patton (Haley). Subs not used: Shanks, Byerley.