|skilltrainingltd League Division One||368|
|Tuesday 20th October 2009||Whitley Bay V Bedlington Terriers||1-1|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
This local derby provided Whitley with one of their sternest tests of the season so far when they came up against a rejuvenated Bedlington Terriers. A wet and windy evening at Hillheads made conditions far from ideal but both sides contributed to an entertaining game in which a draw was probably a fair result. The point gained extended Whitley’s lead at the top of the table to three points but the Terriers will take satisfaction from being the first visiting team to earn a point in a league game at Hillheads this season.Whitley welcomed back Terry Burke in goal following his cheekbone injury for what was only his second game of the season, but Chris Reid, Lee Kerr and Chris Fawcett were all missing from the squad. Bedlington included former Bay striker Mark Sheeran in their line up.
Persistent rain through the afternoon eased in time for kick off and there was another excellent crowd of 368 fans in the ground. The game got underway at a fast and furious pace with the visitors looking the more impressive. When Whitley went on the attack, Paul Chow broke through but a good tackle forced the ball wide of goal just as he was about to shoot. Phil Bell played the ball across the goalmouth following good work by Timmons and Johnston but the cross eluded everyone and the ball ran into touch.
With 16 minutes played, Bedlington’s Stuart Elliott tried a long range shot but it flew wide with Burke having the effort covered. Chris Moore then used his pace to get past his man on the right but when he cut in his shot was put behind for a corner. Moore took the flag kick himself and Leon Ryan got his head to the ball, knocking it across goal where Darren Timmons was quick to react and poked the ball into the net from 10 yards out. The goal came rather against the run of play but it lifted Whitley and the majority of the crowd. Moore was beginning to create problems down the right wing and five minutes after the goal he chased what looked like a lost cause but caught the ball just short of the by line, crossed it ahead of the Terriers’ defence and fractionally too high for Phil Bell, rushing in at the back post.
With the game flowing thanks to fast, accurate passing from both sides Bedlington captain Steve Bowey skewed a good chance wide after Sheeran had played the ball across goal from just beyond the far post. In the next Whitley attack, Moore volleyed over the bar from Paul Robinson’s cross then a few minutes later, Ryan sent a header only just wide of goal from Moore’s corner.
Whitley were gradually getting on top now and more good running from Moore and a neat pass to Chow set up Adam Johnston for a shot that was not far from the target. Moore’s next cross completely beat the Bedlington defence and Robinson came within a whisker of getting his foot the ball, a touch that would have brought a second goal. Then just on the stroke of half time, Bedlington’s Jamie Poole found himself in a good position but fired the ball straight at Burke, to leave Whitley narrowly in the lead at the interval.
The rain returned for the second half, and the greasy surface made conditions that much more tricky with the ball skidding along the turf. Darren Timmons was not far away from doubling Whitley’s lead six minutes after the restart but slid a cross from Moore only inches wide of the upright with only the keeper to beat.
On the hour, Mark Sheeran wasted a great chance to level the score when he headed the ball straight at Burke while at the other end Chow’s header from McFarlane’s free kick drifted wide in the wind. Bedlington equalised midway through the second half when Anthony Shrandran was allowed too much space inside the penalty area and drove a well placed shot beyond Burke into the corner of the net.
This goal forced Whitley into a more attacking mode and Callum Anderson, strong in defence, burst forward and raced downfield before crossing for Johnston to fire a first time effort at keeper Paul Newton. With about 15 minutes remaining Timmons appeared to pick up a knock and was replaced by David Coulson, who had started the game on the bench.
Another attempt on goal by Elliott was wide of the target but it was mostly Whitley pressing forward in the closing stages, with Bell’s point blank shot extremely well blocked by Newton after Johnston’s free kick had set up the opportunity. Sheeran blasted the ball high over the bar at the other end before Moore shot wide from Hodgson’s cross. Two minutes into stoppage time Bell looked to be pushed inside the penalty area but the referee was not interested and shortly after the final whistle signalled the end of Whitley’s 100% home league record.
Had they made the most of their chances, Whitley could well have won the game but in fairness there were also missed chances at the other end. No team can perform at their very best in every game and credit is due to Bedlington who would have felt aggrieved if they had gone away empty handed after a battling performance in what some of their fans described as the best game of football they had seen this season.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Anderson, McFarlane, Robson(Picton 77mins), Timmons(Coulson 76mins), Ryan, Moore, Chow(Hodgson 67mins), Johnston, Bell, Robinson
Subs not used: Kindley, Mark Waite.
Referee Mr M Dicicco