Whitley Bay’s first pre-season friendly resulted in an easy 7-0 victory over Jarrow.
Although it was against lower status opponents from the Wearside League, there were many encouraging signs in what was an entertaining game for the good size crowd on a sunny but blustery evening in Jarrow.
Paul Chow, scorer of more than 40 goals in each of the last two seasons, continued where he left off in April, notching a first half hat-trick while newcomer Robbie Bird scored arguably the goal of the game and caught the eye with an impressive performance.
Defender Chris McDonald, who joined Whitley from Jarrow back in February, was named captain for the night against his former team-mates.
Three of the new signings started the game, with Michael Laws looking commanding in central defence alongside manager Leon Ryan, while Bird and Mark Ellison worked hard in midfield.
It was Ellison who nearly gave Whitley a 12th minute lead with their first chance of the game, but he poked his shot just wide of the target.
Four minutes later, Chow rose above the home defence to head home Alex Kempster’s in-swinging right wing corner.
Bird doubled the lead three minutes later when he flew past several defenders, cut in from the left and fired a tremendous shot just inside the near post into the roof of the net.
Whitley were well on top and they made it 3-0 after 25 minutes when Chow drove a first time effort high into the net after good work by Bird had created the opening. On the half hour Bird set up a chance for Kempster but his shot was blocked.
Kempster again went close three minutes later but this time he was denied by a diving save from the Jarrow keeper.
The bombardment continued and only seconds later, Chow was through on goal and his shot struck the outside of the post but an offside flag had been raised.
A spectacular attempt on goal by Craig McFarlane almost brought its reward when his overhead kick from the right edge of the penalty area just cleared the bar and landed on the roof of the net, much to the relief of the home defenders.
With the game now being played almost entirely in the Jarrow half, Brad Brooking tried his luck with a high ball that was caught by the strong wind as it dipped into the goalmouth. The ball hit the bar before rebounding back into play where it was cleared to safety.
Two minutes before half-time, Chow completed his hat-trick when he again out-jumped the Jarrow defence to head home another Kempster corner, this time from the left wing.
Whitley made seven substitutions at half-time, with new signing Peter Watling replacing Chow in attack.
The home side enjoyed a little more possession, but Daniel Gladstone in the Bay goal had very little to do and Whitley extended their lead when Watling set up McFarlane to drill home from 15 yards after 65 minutes.
Thomas Bott fired inches past the post with 15 minutes to go but his persistence paid off four minutes later when he slotted home Bird’s cross for Whitley’s sixth goal.
Two minutes from time Watling deservedly got his name on the score sheet with the seventh goal of the night.
All in all this was an excellent first run out of the pre-season, but tougher challenges lie ahead.
Whitley Bay: Gladstone, Brooking, McDonald, Ellison, Ryan, Laws, Bird, Anderson, McFarlane, Chow, Kempster. Second half substitutes included: McMullen, Reid, Redford, Watling, Bott, Day.