|skilltrainingltd League Division One||223|
|Saturday 8th November 2008||Consett V Whitley Bay||4-1|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
For the first half hour of this game Whitley were by far the better side and a rare victory at Belle Vue Park looked likely. However, Consett scored two goals in eight minutes shortly before half time to change the course of the game and while the final score line flattered the home side there could be no complaints that in the end the better team had won.
Whitley gave a debut to new signing Chris Fawcett, who joined from Newcastle Blue Star during the week. Phil Bell, back at the club after spells with York City, Blue Star and Blyth Spartans, was named among the substitutes.
Following heavy rain overnight, the pitch was only just deemed playable by the referee, and conditions were not helped by an uneven surface and a strong gusty wind. There was a good size crowd in the ground including a big contingent of Whitley fans.
Whitley started the more confident and pegged the home side back in their own half with a series of attacks. Chris Moore down the right and Bruce Hogg on the left were both troubling a home defence that had conceded four goals in their previous game. A lone effort from tall striker Adam Emson was all that Consett could manage in the opening quarter of the game.
For Whitley, recent signing Bruce Hogg tested Paul Gilmore in the 10th minute, closing in from the left only for the Consett keeper to block his shot on goal. Five minutes later Whitley should have made their pressure tell when they forced a left wing corner. Paul Robinson floated the ball to the back of the six yard box where David Coulson escaped his marker to send a powerful header inches past an unguarded back post. Chris Fawcett showed his pace down the left and twice got in telling crosses that the home defence struggled to clear.
After 25 minutes Whitley made the breakthrough they had been threatening when Moore crossed from the right and Hogg poked the ball over Gilmore and into the net from 10 yards.
Whitley continued to control the game and might have extended their lead but then nine minutes before half time, in a rare break up field, Consett forced a corner on the right. The ball was played into the goalmouth where both sides struggled to control it in the difficult conditions and eventually Carl Piecha forced it over the line for the equaliser. This lifted the Steelmen and they came more into the game in the remaining minutes of the half. Two minutes before the interval, Emson fired home a second goal following poor defending to leave Whitley a goal behind with their fans wondering how a team that had dominated play for so much of the game could be losing.
The answer was that Consett had taken what few chances had come their way while Whitley had failed to take full advantage of their early supremacy.
After the interval, Whitley were soon forced into a change with Paul Robinson leaving the field with a hamstring injury. His replacement Mark Taylor was soon involved in a move that might have brought an equaliser, receiving the ball from Moore before playing it through to Damon Robson whose lob shot was saved by Gilmore. The Consett keeper then had to dive full length to push an effort from Fawcett round the post.
Just before the hour mark, Bruce Hogg, who had looked Whitley’s most dangerous player in the first half, was replaced by Lee Kerr.
Consett were continually a threat on the break and Steven Johnson brought a good save from Burke when the home side broke clear of the Bay defence.
The next goal was always likely to be crucial and it came 20 minutes from time, when Consett put together a neat and quick passing move that cut through Whitley’s midfield. There was a suspicion of offside when Johnson played an excellent through ball to Emson but the flag stayed down and the Consett striker comfortably beat Burke to put his side 3-1 ahead. Shortly afterwards, with Whitley making a desperate bid to rescue the game, Chris Moore was obstructed as he burst through on the right. The resultant free kick from Craig McFarlane was headed just wide by substitute Leon Ryan.
Whitley persisted with their attempts to play neat football on the ground but this was not the most effective approach in the conditions whereas Consett were having far greater success with their more direct football, breaking quickly from defence to attack. In the last ten minutes, Kerr and Chow combined for Chow to head just over the bar but then in the last minute Consett punished Whitley when another quick breakaway caught them out and Johnson was left with only Burke to beat. The Bay keeper got his fingers to the shot but could not push it over the bar, the ball looping over his head into the net.
The final score was cruel on Whitley but it cannot hide the fact that this was yet another disappointing away performance. New faces are being introduced to freshen up the squad and as well as Bruce Hogg, Chris Fawcett also looked promising, but the feeling of many fans is that the midfield still lacks bite and needs a strong ball winner.
WHITLEY BAY; Burke, Timmons, Reid(Ryan 45mins), McFarlane, Coulson, Hogg(Kerr 59mins), Moore, Robson, Fawcett, Chow, Robinson(Taylor 47mins)