Whitley Bay’s first home 0-0 in over four years

Michael Bell, far left with a header across goal for Whitley Bay against Penrith.
Michael Bell, far left with a header across goal for Whitley Bay against Penrith.

Whitley Bay are rarely involved in goal less draws and Saturday’s with Penrith was the first time in four and a half years that Bay fans have witnessed such a result at Hillheads.

Based on the entertainment provided in the game they will be hoping that it is at least another four years before there is a similar outcome.

Goalscoring opportunities were few and far between as both sides struggled to break down determined defences and in the end a draw was fair result.

The opening moments gave false hope to the home supporters as within 60 seconds Alex Kempster drove in a low shot that was on target but was comfortably collected by Penrith keeper Danny Eccles.

A free kick six minutes later saw Jake Richardson fire in a shot that was blocked by defender Will Paul.

The game was largely a midfield struggle but on the quarter hour Steven Logan tried a long range effort for the Cumbrians but the ball flew well wide.

Richard Flynn headed over the bar from a Mark Bertram corner while at the other end Nathan Waterson headed wide from a free kick.

Twice in the minute leading up to half-time, Dan Gladstone was called into action, firstly to block a close range attempt from Logan and then to deny Penrith’s top scorer Martyn Coleman.

After the interval Phil Lumsden replaced Steve Gibson who had picked up a thigh injury just before the break.

Whitley started the half in more positive fashion and after eight minutes Adam Shanks cut in from the left and when his shot was deflected behind, Michael Laws went close from the resultant corner, his powerful first time effort cannoning off Jake Smith for another corner.

Whitley’s best chance of the game came two minutes later when Shanks forced an excellent save from Eccles, the keeper bravely pushing his fierce shot round the post.

Whitley continued in the ascendency and a looping header from Lumsden dropped just beyond the back post.

Penrith then broke quickly upfield and Gladstone did well to block a shot from Waterson after Coleman had set up the chance.

Flynn then rescued Whitley following a slip by Laws when he raced back to whip the ball off the toes of Coleman just as he seemed certain to score.

Chris McDonald, who along with Gladstone was the pick of the Bay players, then attacked down the left and crossed for substitute Liam Hudson whose header was a foot too high and failed to trouble Eccles.

Eight minutes from time, Gladstone again made a vital save, pushing away a shot from Penrith substitute Richard Faustino.

In the two weeks since their defeat by Chorley, Whitley have struggled to reach the levels of performance that saw them do so well in the FA Cup, with confidence levels appearing to have taken a dip.

However, to take a positive from this game, Whitley kept a clean sheet, their first in five games and Gladstone, deputising for the injured Andy Jennison, looks increasingly assured between the posts.

Whitley Bay: Gladstone, Gibson (Lumsden 45), McDonald, Bertram, Laws, Flynn, Norris (Hudson 63), Richardson, Shanks, Bell, Kempster. Subs not used: Young, Day, Bramley.