|skilltrainingltd League Division One||210|
|Saturday 5th September 2009||Ryton V Whitley Bay||2-3|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley maintained their 100% league record on Saturday but they were made to work extremely hard for their victory by Ryton who became the first side to score against Whitley in the league this season. Indeed, with 15 minutes to go, it was looking rather bleak for the Bay who trailed 1-0 and were struggling to break down the home defence. However, three goals in eleven minutes turned the game around and the win moved Whitley up to second place, three points behind league leaders Spennymoor but with two games in hand.Neither side found it easy to cope with the strong and blustery wind, which together with a very uneven playing surface, made it difficult to produce skilful football.
Just six minutes had been played when David Coulson was rather harshly booked for a challenge which gave Ryton a free kick just outside the Bay penalty area. Kindley made a good low save as the ball was curled around the defensive wall.
Seven minutes later, Phil Bell fired a shot against the bar after Chris Moore had supplied the cross from the right. That proved to be just about the only moment of excitement for the Bay fans in the first quarter of the game. At the other end, a vital header from Craig McFarlane cleared a potentially dangerous situation as Ryton tried to make full use of the wind at their backs. Back at the other end, a speculative 20 yard shot from Bell almost caught Ryton keeper Tony Davison by surprise, but he managed to push the ball away from goal.
The home side were having more of the possession without seriously troubling Whitley’s well organised defence and just before half time their frustration seemed to show as two wayward shots caused more harm to the trees in the neighbouring field than to Whitley’s defensive record.
After the interval Whitley had the wind at their backs and with the cloud having cleared, the Ryton keeper also had to contend with a bright sun in his eyes. The home side continued to press forward and five minutes into the half, Callum Anderson looked as bewildered as the Bay fans when he was penalised after the referee deemed that he had fouled an opponent who was running through on goal. A yellow card was brandished but the resultant free kick came to nothing. This decision was just one of a series throughout the game that frustrated both teams.
Chris Fawcett was beginning to make an impression down the left wing and a cross into the box was met by Damon Robson but his effort was scrambled behind for a corner. Paul Robinson then let fly a shot from fully 30 yards out and aided by the wind, the ball whistled past the post with Davison anxiously watching.
Whitley made a double substitution shortly before the hour, with Lee Kerr and Richard Hodgson replacing Robson and Anderson. Almost immediately Ryton broke the deadlock after an uncharacteristic mistake by Craig McFarlane, who appeared to slip and lose possession of the ball inside the Bay penalty area. Steven Aiston pounced and drove a low shot beyond Kindley. It was the first league goal that Whitley had conceded in almost seven hours of league football this season and for a while it looked as if it might be enough to produce a shock result. The conditions were not favouring winger Chris Moore who was unable to make his usual impact and was replaced by Adam Johnston for the last 25 minutes. Whitley pushed forward aided by the strong wind but still struggled to produce flowing football and were being denied by a determined Ryton team. The pressure was beginning to mount on the home defence though, and 15 minutes from time they conceded a free kick for deliberate handball just outside the penalty area. Lee Kerr’s free kick was deflected and from the resultant corner taken by Richard Hodgson, Paul Chow leapt above the home defence to head the ball into the corner of the net.
Within two minutes Whitley won another corner in rather bizarre circumstances. A ball played into the Ryton goalmouth took a substantial deflection on its way out of play but the assistant failed to flag for a corner. It appeared that the referee was going to award a goal kick but then after some indecision and delay he appeared to be swayed by the massed appeals from the large contingent of Whitley fans and gave a corner, amid huge protests from the home side. Richard Hodgson again took the flag kick and the ball curled in the wind towards the goal. Davison desperately attempted to reach the ball with his arm but could do nothing to keep it out of the net.
There were further protests from the Ryton bench, and while it was easy to understand why, there could be no argument that in the end the correct decision had been made.
In the space of two minutes the game had been turned around with substitute Richard Hodgson proving influential. Whitley were now playing with confidence and putting the Ryton defence under more pressure than at any time in the game. With three minutes remaining, the home side conceded another free kick just outside the area when Chow was tripped. Lee Kerr, who is so effective in situations such as this, curled a great shot past Davison at the far post to put Whitley into a 3-1 lead.
Two minutes into stoppage time, Ryton reduced the arrears through Andrew Barclay after he was allowed too much space inside the Whitley six yard box but that was just about the last action of the game.
Another excellent following of Whitley fans gave the team a great ovation at the final whistle, having possibly played a bigger part than usual in their team’s success. Ryton’s disappointment with the final score would have been countered to some extent by the gate receipts and takings at the bar from what may well have been their largest ever Northern League attendance.
WHITLEY BAY: Kindley, McFarlane, Anderson(Hodgson 58mins), Robson(Kerr 58mins), Coulson, Ryan, Moore(Johnston 64mins), Fawcett, Bell, Chow, Robinson