Whitley Bay denied point by stoppage time Morpeth Town winner
Whitley Bay could count themselves unfortunate not to have come away from Morpeth with at least a point after a battling display that was a vast improvement on their performance against Stockton at the weekend.
The winning goal came four minutes into stoppage time with almost the last kick of the game.
The strike left Bay deflated after they had matched the current FA Vase holders throughout and had looked the likelier side to break the deadlock in the closing stages.
In marked contrast to the Vase defeat to Stockton, Whitley looked lively across the park.
After the hosts had started confidently, Tom Potter crossed from the right and forced Damen Mullen to concede a corner from which Ross Wilkinson headed narrowly wide.
When Alex Kempster was tripped some 25 yards from goal, Callum Patton saw his well flighted free kick pushed over the bar by keeper Karl Dryden.
On the quarter hour, Whitley had the ball in the net but Robertson’s effort from Wilkinson’s header across goal was ruled out by an offside flag.
Two minutes later Morpeth nearly broke the deadlock with an effort that crashed off the post.
But with 23 minutes played they did take the lead and it was former Bay defender Chris Reid who slotted home after Jordan Fry’s shot took a deflection.
Whitley battled back strongly and they equalised just two minutes later when Reid tripped Chris McDonald inside the box and Callum Patton scored from the penalty spot.
Five minutes later, after Shanks had done well to win the ball near the left corner flag, Robertson’s attempt on goal was deflected wide.
When Potter was clumsily felled as he broke away down the right, Morpeth defender Michael Hall was cautioned.
A long range effort from Sean Taylor whistled just past the upright as the home side fought back, but then Patton was denied after Michael Turner had headed a Bay effort off the line.
It remained all square at the interval, but just 35 seconds into the second half, an excellent through ball down the right from Jake Fowler released Potter who cut in and curled a superb shot beyond Dryden but agonisingly for Whitley the ball crashed off the angle of post and crossbar.
Henderson was then denied by Tom Flynn as the game swung first one way then the other.
Potter was causing problems for the hosts and Turner became the second player cautioned for tripping the youngster as he threatened to break clear on goal.
Wilkinson then headed across goal for Kempster whose effort was just too high, and from Potter’s cross an effort from Kempster was held on the line by Dryden.
It was against the run of play when Morpeth regained the lead in the 65th minute, Michael Chilton getting the vital touch as he got to the ball just ahead of Flynn, the Bay keeper taking a knock in the process.
Whitley responded well and Shanks raced clear to slot the ball past Dryden into the corner of the net, but he was ruled offside.
Almost immediately after they had made a triple substitution, Whitley levelled the score for the second time in the game following good work by Fryatt, one of the substitutes, who gave Patton the opportunity to drive a left footed shot low past Dryden and set up an exciting final ten minutes.
Patton, who had worked tirelessly all game, had a goalbound effort superbly cleared off the line by Morpeth skipper Graydon but with time running out, the home side were relieved to see referee Craig Dean show only a yellow card to Steven Anderson following a dangerous two footed tackle near the half way line.
Both sides were searching for a winner and in stoppage time Steve Gibson made a crucial challenge to deny Chilton a shot on goal.
Fryatt then had a chance to win it for Whitley when he burst clear on goal, but he could not capitalise.
Morpeth then won a corner on the right and when the ball was played in by Mullen, a scramble ensued in the goalmouth with Anderson poking the ball into the net for the winning goal.
It was a cruel blow to come away empty handed after such a good performance, but despite the disappointment, there were many positives to take from the game.
Whitley Bay: Flynn, Nearney, McDonald (Gibson 78), Eleftheriadis, Wilkinson, Potter, Fowler (Anderson 78), Patton, Shanks, Robertson (Fryatt 78), Kempster. Sub not used: Keltie.