|skilltrainingltd League Division One||407|
|Tuesday 11th August 2009||Whitley Bay V Dunston UTS||1-0|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley continued their excellent start to the season with another hard fought victory over one of the sides likely to challenge for the title. Dunston have a good record at Hillheads, where they have never lost by more than a single goal and it took a second half header from Paul Chow to separate the sides in front of another 400+ crowd.Before the game came the bad news that Terry Burke had fractured a cheek bone and would be out of action for two months. Another blow was the absence due to work commitments of Lee Kerr. With David Coulson away on holiday this left Whitley without three key players but such is the strength of the squad this season that Ian Chandler was able to bring in replacements, Tom Kindley, Callum Anderson and Chris Reid without significantly weakening the side. Particularly encouraging is the fact that all three are youngsters who already look very much at home in Northern League football.
In many ways this game followed the pattern of Saturdayís match against Consett, with the visitors having the better of a goal less first half before Whitley got on top after the interval.
In the early stages there was little to choose between the sides but when Kindley failed to hold a shot from the left, Chris Reid was on hand to hook the ball away to safety. An excellent move by Whitley almost brought a goal on the quarter hour, when Hodgson played the ball wide to Chow on the right. His early cross to the edge of the goal area was headed just wide by the diving Adam Johnston, who was clearly disappointed not to get his effort on target. Three minutes later, Hodgsonís low free kick was well held by Dunston keeper Liam Connell.
The visitors looked strong in midfield with Harkin in particular catching the eye, but they were coming up against a Bay defence that was giving little away. Kindley twice punched clear from corners and just before the half hour he got his fingertips to a long range shot from defender Jack Burns, pushing the ball over the bar. Shortly before the half time whistle, Dunston again went close with the ball bouncing around the Whitley goalmouth before Kindley made a good save from almost point blank range, pushing the ball away from goal.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Whitley had an excellent chance to break the deadlock when Hodgson was played clear on the left edge of the Dunston penalty area. His low shot was angled inches wide of the far post with Connell relieved to see the chance gone.
Whitley were beginning to get on top and a tremendous run by Callum Anderson saw him go past at least three players as he raced forward from the half way line. On the edge of the area he played the ball out to Paul Chow whose low shot lacked power and failed to trouble Connell.
Close marking, especially by former Bay defender Lee Bell meant that Chris Moore was struggling to make the impact he had done in recent games and he was replaced by Phil Bell midway through the half. Dunstonís attempts to combat the effect of Bellís introduction gave more space on the left wing for Chris Fawcett to exploit and he quickly took advantage. Racing past defender Jack Burns he crossed to the back post where Paul Chow escaped his marker and nodded the ball into the corner of the net to give Whitley a crucial lead.
Dunston responded by surging upfield in search of the equaliser but despite the efforts of Steve Preen they could not find a way through. Kindley comfortably held a shot from out on the left while Reid was looking ever more assured in the centre of defence.
Seven minutes from time, Dunston created their best opportunity of getting back in the game when Michael Dixon was put through on goal but blazed his shot well wide. The visitorsí efforts became increasingly desperate with shots from distance failing to find the target. A nasty tackle on Anderson by sub Steven Brown three minutes from time earned the Dunston man a yellow card.
In the end Whitley were deserved winners but Dunston will doubtless be out to reverse the score line when the sides meet again at Hillheads on Saturday, this time in the FA Cup.
WHITLEY BAY: Kindley, McFarlane, Fawcett, Hodgson(Robson 75mins), Reid, Ryan, Moore(Bell 67mins), Anderson, Johnston, Chow, Robinson(Picton 75mins)