Whitley Bay thwarted by second consecutive postponement

For the second Saturday in a row Whitley Bay were frustrated by the weather when their home fixture against league leaders West Auckland was called off at 10.30am on the morning of the game.

The Hillheads pitch waterlogged after overnight rain made a previously frozen surface unplayable.

Throughout the Ebac Northern League, clubs faced similar problems with only three of the scheduled 22 fixtures going ahead.

Despite forecasts of cold weather throughout this week, Whitley are keeping their fingers crossed that Saturday’s game in Carlisle against Celtic Nation will go ahead and that the Gillford Park Stadium is not frost bound.

The six players signed by manager Paddy Atkinson last month are still waiting to pull on a Bay shirt, and the fixture against the struggling Cumbrians is one that could give them the opportunity to make a winning start.

The Carlisle club have a short history with the first game between the sides being a League Cup tie at Hillheads almost exactly five years ago - just four days after Whitley battled out a gruelling FA Vase fifth round tie at Chertsey Town which ended level after extra time.

Despite returning home from Surrey with tired legs, Whitley comfortably defeated the Cumbrians 4-0.

But on the next occasion the sides met, the visitors, newly promoted to the first division, earned a 2-2 draw at Hillheads just two days after Whitley had played a prestigious friendly against Ukrainian side Metallist Kharkiv in 2013.

Whitley earned a very creditable 3-1 victory in the return fixture on a wet and windy night in Carlisle, but last season the Cumbrians, with strong financial backing, twice came out on top.

However, this season has been a difficult one for them as they have lost their sponsor and have had to rebuild almost their entire squad.

They are currently languishing third from bottom but their five victories have all come on home soil so Whitley can take nothing for granted.

The Supporters’ Club has a full coach of fans travelling to the game so Whitley will have plenty of backing as they aim to return to winning ways.

The following Saturday, February 14, Whitley are at home to Billingham Synthonia before travelling to Blyth Spartans in the semi-final of the Northumberland Senior Cup on Tuesday, February 17.