Whitley Bay win relegates Durham City
Whitley Bay climbed two places up the table on Saturday with a comfortable win that saw Durham City relegated.
In many ways the game was a repeat of Thursday’s victory over Jarrow Roofing, with a dull and largely uneventful first half followed by an entertaining second 45 minutes in which Whitley scored four times, with Chris McDonald once again getting two of the goals.
There were strong links between the sides, with Durham now managed by former Bay FA Vase winner Chris Moore, who took over when Ian Chandler left the Citizens in October.
Four of the Bay side had previously played for Durham, and the same number in the City side had played for Whitley.
Given their desperate plight in the relegation zone it was not surprising that Durham showed the greater urgency in the opening stages, but they lacked any potency in attack and it was not until the 25th minute that either side got a shot on target.
When it came, one of City’s former Bay players Sam Norris set up the chance, crossing from the right for Andre-Vasile Ardelean, whose shot was pushed over the bar by Tom Flynn.
Both sides were struggling to string passes together and the play was rather scrappy, but just past the half hour, Whitley went close to breaking the deadlock when Callum Patton struck the outside of the post with a close range shot from McDonald’s corner.
Two minutes before the break McDonald’s long throw was allowed to bounce across goal to Callum Munro whose close range shot was well blocked by Andy Jennison.
The good sized Hillheads crowd had been starved of entertainment in the first half, but there was a marked improvement after the interval.
Whitley looked livelier and their link up play was much better. Nine minutes into the half, Patton burst forward but his shot was pushed wide by Jennison. Adam Shanks was then played in on goal but his first time effort was kept out.
The pressure was mounting on City and in the 57th minute when Shanks crossed from the right, Aiden Haley gleefully fired past Jennison from 15 yards to give Whitley the lead with his first goal for the club, and against the side he played for at the start of the season.
Four minutes later, Whitley doubled their lead when Alex Kempster dribbled his way through the right side of the penalty area and slotted the ball across goal where Shanks, captain for the day in the absence of Jake Fowler, finished off the move, hitting his shot into the ground with the ball then ballooning over Jennison and into the net.
Seeing their survival hopes fast disappearing, City players’ heads dropped and their challenge quickly faded away.
Now fully in control and playing some attractive football, Whitley added a third in the 75th minute when the impressive Josh Day set up McDonald who burst through and let fly a great 20-yard shot that whistled past Jennison into the bottom corner of the net.
The visitors were a spent force and four minutes later McDonald’s rich vein of form continued when he broke through after being played in by unlikely attacking substitute Dan Gladstone and drilled the ball home to make it 4-0 with his fourth goal in two games.
City could not contain the young defender, who was now in search of a hat-trick, and nine minutes from time he was only denied by Jennison’s good block.
With one minute remaining Bay substitute Nikolay Ivanov looked certain to add a fifth when played clear on goal from a free kick, but somehow he managed to slot the ball wide of an inviting goal.
The miss made no difference to the outcome and while Whitley celebrated victory with their jubilant fans, it was a dejected Durham side who left the field knowing their club would be playing second division football next season.
Whitley Bay: T Flynn, McFarlane, McDonald, Day, R Flynn, Haley, Munro (Gibson 60), Prosser (Ivanov 67), Shanks (Gladstone 77), Patton, Kempster.
Before the game, club chairman Paul McIlduff made three presentations to players who recently passed appearance landmarks. Craig McFarlane 300 and Chris McDonald and Alex Kempster both 100.
On Saturday, Whitley Bay FC will be holding their annual presentation evening at The Seahorse, starting at 7.30pm.
All supporters are welcome to attend.