|Northumberland Senior Cup 1st Round||n/k|
|Tuesday 15th October 2002||Newcastle Benfield Saints V Whitley Bay||2-5|
Match Report By Peter Fox
On a freezing night Whitley notched their third consecutive win in a hard fought cup-tie at Northern Alliance league leaders Benfield Saints.
The Saints, who have won all seven of their league games started off brightly, and their pace up front was to prove awkward for the Bay defence especially in the first half when they had the strong wind at their backs.
Bay came more into the came after the first 10 minutes and although the game was scrappy, it was Bay who took the lead after 18 minutes when Jon Sunderland's cross found Lee O'Donovan with his back to goal, but the Bay player managed to turn and shoot low past Ryan Sochanik.
The lead was short lived however, as only four minutes later Richie Bond capitalised on some slackness in the Bay defence and fed David Cooper who lashed the ball past Terry Burke.
The game started to improve and Stephen Young nearly caught out the Whitley defence when latching onto a wind assisted ball out of defence but he overhit his cross.
Whitley took the lead after 33 minutes when Lee Scroggins got in front of his marker to shoot home from close range following Paddy Little's free kick from the right. Three minutes later they had a two goal advantage when Sunderland was hauled down in the box and Lee Ludlow confidently despatched the spot kick.
At the start of the second half Cooper forced a fine save from Burke and then came three goals in the space of a couple of minutes. First O'Donovan got on the end of a long clearance, and showed a great touch to control the ball and round Sochanik to shoot into the empty net and make it 4-1, before the hosts replied with a Young cross shot into the corner from the right edge of the Bay penalty area. Bay restored their three goal lead straight from the kick off when the ball was worked to Ludlow who hit a screamer from 20 yards giving Sochanik no chance.
Andy Hay came on for O'Donovan and was soon in the action outpacing the home defence but hitting his shot too close to Sochanik. Benfield responded with a Paul Towns effort, which Burke held well after the Benfield player had picked his way through the Bay defence, before Bay found themselves down to ten men Mark Taylor being dismissed for violent conduct after what seemed an innocuous tussle.
Sochanik denied Ludlow his hat-trick and although the ball broke to Hay he was crowded out by defenders before at the other end a tremendous volley from Young crashed against the Whitley bar and the same player was just wide from 18 yards. Whitley came close to a sixth when Kevin Walton saw his shot well blocked by Sochanik and despite Benfield's numerical advantage, they couldn't reduce the deficit and Bay go into Round Two.
Bay: Burke, Little (Cook), Middleton, Melrose, Walmsley, Scroggins, Taylor, Walton, Ludlow (Dugdale), O'Donovan (Hay), Sunderland.
Not Used: Chandler, Bowes