Whitley Bay suffer third defeat in four games
A goal in first half stoppage time was enough to give high-flying Newton Aycliffe all three points on a wet and windy night at Hillheads as Whitley Bay suffered their third 1-0 defeat in their last four games.
The forecast had been for a dry evening, but rain arrived by late afternoon and persisted until half-time, and as a result the pitch cut up badly.
The visitors edged the contest as they adapted better to the conditions while Whitley attempted in vain to play a neat passing game in the first half.
Andy Jennison in the Bay goal was by far the busier keeper in the opening half and was first called into action after 14 minutes, pushing a powerful effort from John Campbell round the post after the Aycliffe striker had received the ball from Dennis Knight’s free kick.
While Whitley’s passing game was not working on a surface that was quickly cutting up, in contrast, Newton Aycliffe were using the long ball over the top which was proving a more effective approach.
Jake Fowler, making his debut in midfield after signing from Consett last week, looked lively in the first half but tired on the heavy pitch.
On the half hour, a misplaced defensive header looped over stranded keeper James Winter but the ball drifted inches wide of the far post. From Youldon’s corner, Steve Gibson’s acrobatic shot was clawed away from danger by Winter.
Campbell then saw a good chance thwarted when Jennison saved well with his feet.
However, in the first minute of added time at the end of the opening half, the visitors took the lead when the Bay defence momentarily lost concentration. The ball fell for Campbell who was left unmarked 20 yards from goal just outside the right edge of the penalty area, and he drove a low shot just inside the near post with Jennison appearing to be taken by surprise.
After the break, although the rain had stopped, the pitch continued to deteriorate, and while both sides worked hard they struggled to create chances.
Just before the hour mark, Adam Shanks attempted a lob shot from wide on the left and although it cleared Winter, the ball fell agonisingly wide of the far post.
Craig McFarlane, who had started a game for the first time since suffering a broken ankle last April, continued his rehabilitation by playing an hour before being replaced by Josh Day.
Chris Youldon had been very industrious throughout but was tiring and gave way to Sam Norris with 25 minutes remaining.
With time running out, Aycliffe went close with a speculative long range effort from Zak Boagey which clipped the top of the bar.
As manager Ian Chandler pointed out after the game, Whitley had not created enough chances to seriously trouble the Aycliffe defence, and while he felt all the team had battled well in the difficult conditions, it was not enough to earn a share of the points and he indicated that he will be aiming to strengthen the squad in the coming days.
Whitley Bay: Jennison, McFarlane (Day 59), McDonald, Anderson, Laws, Flynn, Gibson, Fowler, Shanks (R Williamson 83), Youldon (Norris 65). Subs not used: Gladstone, M Williamson.