Whitley Bay’s cup run ended by Newcastle United Reserves

A stunning goal from Rolando Aarons five minutes from time took Newcastle United Reserves into the final of the Northumberland Senior Cup and ended Leon Ryan’s unbeaten start as Bay manager.

However, Whitley could hold their heads high after more than matching their full time opponents for long periods of the game and it was only in the later stages when United’s superior fitness began to show.

Action from the Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final between Whitley Bay and Newcastle Reserves at Hillheads.

Action from the Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final between Whitley Bay and Newcastle Reserves at Hillheads.

With Alan Pardew and John Carver both among the crowd of almost 900, United were captained by African born midfielder Gael Bigirimana, continuing his return to Premier League fitness, while Aarons and Lubo Satka, who both travelled with the first team squad to Fulham on Saturday, were also in the starting line up.

With Mark Cook unavailable, Michael Hammond made only his second appearance of the season in goal for Whitley while Callum Anderson was back after recovering from injury. Craig McFarlane meanwhile was making his 250th appearance for the club.

Whitley started brightly and after just five minutes Jarrett Rivers sent a shot just over the bar.

A minute later, Satka conceded a free kick only inches outside the penalty area when he brought down Michael McMullen as the youngster raced through on the left. At the other end, Remie Streete headed over the bar from Bigirimana’s right wing corner.

Whitley’s lively youngsters Kempster and Rivers, along with McMullen, were unsettling the United defence and with 13 minutes played, Rivers darted down the right wing before delivering a cross that saw a defensive header send the ball high over the bar.

Whitley kept up the pressure as Michael McMullen almost put Paul Chow clear on goal but Satka was quick to intercept the ball.

Whitley suffered a blow with 18 minutes on the clock when Saturday’s man of the match Stephen Buzzeo had to be replaced after dislocating his shoulder.

Paul Chow was only narrowly off target after 28 minutes then Jarrett Rivers was tripped in full flight by Jamie Sterry. The resulting free kick from McMullen was cleared as far as Rivers whose shot cleared the bar.

Whitley were getting on top and moments later Chow played Rivers through and his shot was deflected just wide of goal. In Whitley’s next attack, a cross from McFarlane whistled across the goalmouth with Chow narrowly failing to get the vital touch.

Newcastle’s best chance of the half came eight minutes before half time when Alex Gillead headed over the bar from Michael Richardson’s cross.

A lack lustre United side gradually gained more control of midfield in the second half with Bigirimana and substitute Oliver Kemen seeing more of the ball.

Just past the hour mark, Paul Chow was given a gilt edged chance to break the deadlock when played clear but needing a second touch, he was denied by Satka and Streete.

United finally got their first shot on target after 74 minutes when Callum Roberts cut in from the right but Hammond blocked his attempt.

Inevitably given their tremendous work rate earlier in the game Whitley were now tiring and as a result United were gaining more possession but they were still struggling to break down a resolute defence.

Extra time was looming when a moment of pure quality decided the game. From a throw in on the right, Aarons cut in before unleashing a tremendous 25 yard shot that flew past Hammond into the bottom corner of the net.

Despite their best efforts Whitley could not find an equaliser and Peter Beardsley’s youngsters held on to earn their place in next month’s Final.

Whitley Bay: Hammond, McFarlane, McDonald, Buzzeo (Brooking 22mins), Ryan, Reid, McMullen (Robertson 79mins), Anderson, Rivers, Chow, Kempster. Substitutes not used: Smith, Burns, Fairgrieve.