|skilltrainingltd League Division One||189|
|Tuesday 23rd September 2008||Whitley Bay V Northallerton Town||6-3|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley bounced back from their dreadful showing at Billingham to hit struggling Northallerton for six in a thoroughly entertaining game at Hillheads on Tuesday evening. The game had everything – nine goals, another one ruled out, a sending off and controversial refereeing decisions. For various reasons, Ian Chandler made several changes to the side, with Tom Kindley taking his place in goal, Chris Moore back on the wing and young Darren Reay in midfield.
Many fans have been disappointed by the early season form of Lee Kerr, although he was unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions on Saturday. However, he has a good record against Northallerton and within five minutes he scored a goal that would have graced any Premier League game. Collecting the ball some 25 yards out, he fired in a superb shot that dipped under the bar at the last minute, leaving keeper Stuart Dawson helpless. It set the tone for the game, with Whitley dominating play and forcing the Yorkshiremen on the defensive for long periods.
With 29 minutes on the clock, Kerr crossed from the left for Craig McFarlane to drive another effort from outside the penalty area past the keeper, this time a low shot that flew into the net through a crowded defence.
Four minutes later, the visitors might have pulled a goal back but Kindley made a great diving save to push the ball round the post. Six minutes before the interval, Chris Moore cut in from the Whitley right and drove a low ball across the face of goal where it took a wicked deflection off defender Stuart Jackson and looped into the net to give Whitley a seemingly unassailable three goal lead.
In first half stoppage time Northallerton reduced the arrears to give themselves a glimmer of hope with a goal that to be polite was controversial – many would use much stronger language! Even the visiting fans described it as a ‘dodgy decision’. A ball was crossed into the goalmouth by Chris Walker, where Kindley was knocked to the ground by an onrushing forward. The ball ended up in the net and the young Bay keeper lay injured on the turf. To the amazement of the crowd, and to his credit also the visiting keeper, the referee awarded a goal and ran back to the centre spot. Realising that Kindley was injured, he then allowed Bay physio Glen Martin onto the pitch to give treatment, but stayed in the centre circle, showing no concern for the injured goalkeeper.
Perhaps fired up by what had happened just before the break, Whitley laid siege to the Northallerton goal after the interval. Within three minutes, Leon Ryan headed home a fourth Bay goal after Kerr and Coulson had set up the chance with excellent play. Picton then sent a glancing header inches past the far post from McFarlane’s cross. Kerr almost added a fifth a few minutes later when he latched onto a through ball but his lob over the keeper just cleared the bar. Whitley were mesmerising the visitors’ rearguard with some excellent inter passing and it came as a surprise when in a quick breakaway up field Roberts was allowed to cut in from the left for Ryan to reduce the deficit from close range.
Within five minutes of coming off the bench, Mark Minto scored Whitley’s fifth after Damon Robson, with virtually his first touch, had crossed into the goalmouth from the right. Frustration at this goal resulted in Northallerton skipper Shaun Clarke being sent off for dissent after collecting a second yellow card. Still Whitley poured forward and Damon Robson was denied a goal when his close range effort was ruled out when an offside flag was raised. A minute later, Lee Kerr produced a fine save from the besieged keeper Stuart Dawson, who pushed a powerful shot over the bar, but two minutes from time the keeper could nothing to prevent Kerr from getting his second and Whitley’s sixth after substitute Paul Robinson had set up the chance with excellent play on the left wing.
Deep into stoppage time, the lively John Ryan, a new signing for the visitors, got his side a third goal after weaving his way past two defenders.
The win was the perfect tonic for Whitley ahead of the FA Cup tie against Hyde United and lifted them up a tightly packed Northern League table to seventh place. With Nissan and West Allotment losing their midweek games, Whitley are just three points off the top of the table.
WHITLEY BAY: Kindley, Taylor, Picton, McFarlane((Robinson 71mins), Coulson, Ryan, Moore, Reay(Robson 69mins), Kerr, Chow(Minto 66mins), Livermore.