|skilltrainingltd League Division One||308|
|Saturday 18th October 2008||Whitley Bay V Morpeth Town||5-2|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley bounced back from the disappointment of their FA Cup defeat a week earlier with a resounding victory over a Morpeth Town side that arrived at Hillheads in confident mood thanks to a five match unbeaten run.
The opening stages gave little indication of what was to come with both sides feeling their way; the visitors having the strong wind at their backs looking marginally more threatening. With 13 minutes played, the game burst to life when Paul Chow broke through on the right of the penalty area and fired in a tremendous shot across the face of goal. The ball beat keeper Wells as it crashed off the underside of the bar and was scrambled out of play by the home defence. From the corner that followed, Morpeth captain Ian Nickalls hooked the ball away from danger with Lee Picton poised to capitalise less than six yards from goal.
Despite facing the wind, Whitley were playing a good and accurate passing game and when Picton crossed from the left, former Bay defender Lee Bell cleared under pressure from Chow. A few minutes later, Morpeth broke down the other end and a long range effort from Wilary flew over the bar. The breakthrough came after 27 minutes when Paul Robinsonís close control took him past several defenders. Kerr appeared to be tripped as he went for the ball but it broke clear for Craig McFarlane who found himself unmarked with only the keeper to beat and he comfortably slotted the ball home from ten yards.
Two minutes later, a great cross from the left by Picton found Chris Moore perfectly positioned just beyond the back post and his well directed header beat the keeper to put Whitley 2-0 up and firmly in control.
Morpeth retaliated with Polish striker Halambiec bringing a fine save from Burke but a minute later there was nothing the Whitley keeper could do to keep out a tremendous 25 yard shot from Wilary, the ball flying into the top corner for a spectacular goal.
Whitley continued to look for goals and five minutes before the break, Kerr was presented with a good opportunity when Picton again opened up the Morpeth defence with a long ball which left the young Bay striker with only Wells to beat but the keeper did well to block the shot and then grab the ball at the second attempt. However, the third goal was not delayed for long as just two minutes later, Robinson and Kerr set up an opening which put Chow clear on goal and he comfortably beat the keeper for what was his 12th goal of the season. Robinson might have added a fourth just before the half time whistle but he inexplicably put the ball wide after Damon Robsonís cross had left him with an open goal.
After the interval, Whitley remained well in control and now they had the advantage of the wind behind them. On 56 minutes, they effectively ended the game as a contest with their fourth goal. Pictonís long throw was headed on by Ryan for Coulson to drive the ball through a crowded goalmouth. It looked as if the ball would cross the line but Craig McFarlane was taking no chances and raced in to knock it in the back of the net.
Whitley cruised through the remainder of the game, bringing on all three substitutes, including striker Andy Hay, who returned to the club in midweek. Five minutes from time, to the delight of team mates and fans, Lee Kerr ended what had been by his standards a lean spell when he added Whitleyís fifth with a 20 yard shot that beat Wells as it flew into the net off the near post. In the final minute, Morpethís Paul Wilary got his second goal but it was little consolation for his side who ended up well beaten. In stoppage time, a good ball from Hay saw Wells leap dramatically to his left to deny Kerr another goal.
There could have been few complaints from the excellent crowd of over 300, which included match sponsor, Alan Campbell MP. Seven goals provided good entertainment and it is a remarkable statistic that in their last four league games Whitley have scored 22 goals. They have also conceded nine but as long as they score more than they concede, the fans will be happy.
After the match there was also good news for Mark Minto, who had progressed from the youth team and was one of the most popular players in the club. Having found it difficult to command a regular first team place he moved to West Allotment in exchange for Andy Hay and on his debut scored a last minute equaliser against Sunderland Nissan, a goal which helps Whitley as both sides are in the tightly packed top end of the table. Whitley are now in 8th place but with games in hand on the leaders.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Taylor, Picton, McFarlane(Livermore 72mins), Coulson, Ryan, Moore(Hay 81mins), Robson, Kerr, Chow( Woodhouse 67mins)