Whitley go out with a whimper
Whitley Bay 1-3 Shildon
Whitley’s season ended in disappointing style as they slipped to a third consecutive defeat and dropped one place in the table to finish in 13th position. Nevertheless, this represents an improvement of three places since Nathan Haslam took over as manager last month.
Before kick off, there was a presentation to Craig McFarlane to mark his 350 appearances for the club, three of which were at Wembley as a the FA Vase winner.
Playing into a blustery wind, Andrei Ardelean had a shot blocked inside the six yard box. Moments later, Shildon capitalised on slack marking when a long ball downfield reached Billy Greulich-Smith in space on the left side of midfield. He took the ball forward to the edge of the box before curling a great shot beyond the reach of Dan Lister into the top corner of the net.
There were few chances at either end until shortly before the interval when captain on the day Luke Salmon cut in from the left along the by-line and his cross clipped the outside of the post before being cleared.
It appeared that there would be just the one goal separating the sides at the break but Whitley conceded a crucial second deep into stoppage time. Shildon won a corner on the left and when the ball was played in, it was caught in the wind and with players on both sides failing to make proper contact, it struck Greulich-Smith and somewhat fortuitously found its way into the net past a bemused Bay defence.
Greulich-Smith was proving a real threat and he almost completed a hat-trick six minutes after the restart but Lister kept his effort out. One minute later, Lewis Walton went close for Whitley but his shot across goal drifted a foot wide of the upright.
Any hopes of a Bay recovery were effectively ended in the 55th minute when keeper Lister pushed the ball into the path of Ben Trotter who had the simple task of slotting it home from five yards.
Two minutes later, the Railwaymen were deceived by a right wing corner from Salmon and the ball curled just inside the near post before being pushed back out.
The game suddenly flared up with less than two minutes remaining when Kieran Brannen showed his frustration by kicking out and he received a red card.