|skilltrainingltd League Division One||216|
|Saturday 19th September 2009||Consett V Whitley Bay||1-3|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley Bay achieved an excellent and potentially crucial victory at one of their main championship rivals on Saturday when they came back from a goal down to defeat Consett by three goals to one.The win maintained Whitley’s 100% league record after seven games, their best start to the season for many years.
Belle Vue Park has not been a happy hunting ground in recent years, with Whitley having lost on six of their last seven visits but this win means that they have completed an early season double over the Steelmen, following a 1-0 success at Hillheads on the opening day of the season.
Once again, Ian Chandler rang the changes in his starting line up and surprised many by leaving Paul Chow, Phil Bell, Paul Robinson and Richard Hodgson on the bench. However, after a shaky start, the players justified the manager’s decision with a display that left Consett a well beaten side.
In the opening quarter of the game, Consett looked much stronger and were often first to the ball, out muscling Whitley especially in defence where Johnston and Kerr were allowed little space.
In what looked to be an over strong challenge, Chris Moore was bundled over by Consett captain Carl Piecha after receiving the ball from Johnston but the referee ignored Whitley’s appeals for a penalty. Shortly after, with 15 minutes played, Consett took the lead when the ball was crossed from the left and Piecha’s first time effort gave Kindley little chance as it flew into the far corner of the net.
Whitley gradually battled their way back into the game and it was Chris Moore who proved most influential, constantly causing problems for the Consett defence with his pace and skill on the wing. In the 20th minute his cross from the left was met by Johnston whose shot flew over the bar. Lee Kerr then played a great through ball for Johnston but he fired the wrong side of the post. Whitley were beginning to get on top and when Kerr set Moore away his shot was pushed onto the top of the bar as Consett keeper Daniel Staples just got his fingertips to the ball.
When the home side responded, Tom Kindley made a comfortable save from Chris Scott but it was Whitley who were posing the greater threat and they deservedly equalised four minutes from half time. The goal came when Lee Kerr saw his chance and from fully 25 yards out, drove a rasping shot against the bar. When the ball rebounded into play, Consett failed to make an effective clearance and Adam Johnston pounced to fire the ball home from close range. Within a minute Whitley were in front and the goal came when Moore broke away on the right wing, crossed the ball to the nearside of the penalty area where Johnston swivelled and crashed a tremendous shot past Staples. The home side were in disarray and Whitley might have added a third goal right on half time when Moore again caused mayhem in the Consett defence before playing the ball to Kerr whose volley was deflected wide of goal for a corner that came to nothing.
The half time team talk had stirred the Steelmen and from the restart they attacked down the left through David Gordon, whose cross was pushed over the bar by Kindley. The Bay keeper was in action a few minutes later when he dived to make a low save from Cuthbertson. Pounder brought another save from Kindley just after the hour mark but despite their goal attempts, Consett were not posing a serious threat. After 62 minutes, Johnston left the field to rapturous applause from the large and vociferous Bay following, to be replaced by Phil Bell, who soon began to unsettle the Consett defence with his physical presence. Two minutes later, Chris Fawcett was tripped in full flight as he entered the penalty area. Whitley were awarded a free kick just outside the area and the offending player was lucky to avoid additional punishment.
Whitley were finding gaps in the home defence and when Kerr played the ball wide to the right wing, Moore drilled a shot just wide of goal. Shortly after, with 17 minutes left, Whitley extended their lead and made the game virtually safe when David Coulson escaped the attention of the Consett defence as he leapt to head powerfully past Staples with man of the match Chris Moore the provider once again.
The young Consett keeper was becoming increasingly frustrated and at times contested the officials’ decisions in strong language. The Consett programme notes describe him as a ‘good talker’ but his comments got him into trouble when he was cautioned for dissent.
There was a big cheer from the celebrating Bay fans when Darren Timmons came off the bench to make a welcome return following a lengthy period out of action through injury. His return to fitness adds further strength to the defence, which is still short of Mark Taylor, whose injury problems are not yet resolved.
Coulson might have got his second goal of the game after 77 minutes from Lee Kerr’s free kick but he could only side foot a shot into the keeper’s hands when he would have hoped to do better. Damon Robson had been working tirelessly in midfield and he too had a chance to add a fourth goal for Whitley after Moore’s cross into the goalmouth was pushed into his path but he shot over the bar. Right at the end, the woodwork came to Consett’s rescue again when Chris Fawcett burst through and Staples got his fingers to the ball, pushing it onto the bar.
The Consett management felt that they were unlucky to lose at Hillheads in August but they could have had no complaints about the result on this occasion, with Whitley posing much the greater threat after the opening 20 minutes and creating far more goal scoring opportunities.
The victory was achieved without leading scorer Paul Chow and Richard Hodgson, both of whom were unused substitutes, a fact which serves to emphasize the strength of Whitley’s squad.
WHITLEY BAY: Kindley, McFarlane, Anderson, Robson, Coulson, Ryan, Moore, Fawcett, Johnston(Bell 62mins), Kerr(Robinson 84mins), Reid(Timmons 75mins)