|skilltrainingltd League Division One||208|
|Tuesday 25th November 2008||Whitley Bay V Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics||2-0|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
For the second time in a week, Whitley produced an impressive performance to defeat one of the best sides in the Northern League. In recording their third consecutive clean sheet, they prevented Benfield from scoring for the first time this season in a league game and extended their winning run to four games.
This was a thoroughly entertaining local derby and it was settled by two goals midway though the second half but with a little more luck Whitley might have won by a bigger margin.
Whitley were without Damon Robson who was unwell, but Chris Fawcett, who missed Saturday’s game through sickness, returned to the starting line up. The game started off at a fast and furious pace and with just four minutes played, Chris Reid, who had another excellent game, put the ball through to Paul Robinson who in turn passed to Leon Ryan whose shot was saved by Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger. The visitors were quick to break and Whitley’s defence had to be alert to keep them out. Nine minutes into the game, Robinson burst through and fired in a low shot that was well saved by Grainger. After more Benfield pressure had been dealt with, a long ball upfield left Chow one on one with Grainger. Although Chow just reached the bouncing ball first, his header towards goal just lacked sufficient power and Lumsden raced back to clear the ball off the line.
Whitley were creating the better chances and Lee Kerr, who was looking livelier than in recent games, did well to cut the ball back across the goalmouth when closely marked, but unfortunately the ball went behind the on rushing Fawcett and the chance was gone. As in the previous two games, Whitley won a free kick about 20 yards out shortly after the half hour and once again Chris Reid took the kick. However on this occasion, it did not produce a goal, but the young Bay midfielder was so very close to repeating the trick as his shot crashed off the bar with Grainger well beaten. . Four minutes before the interval, Chow played the ball to Kerr who curled a great shot towards the top corner only for Grainger to pull off a tremendous diving save, pushing the ball round the post. Reid took the corner and Leon Ryan headed just wide of goal as Whitley continued to pose the greater threat. Benfield were playing fast and neat football but Whitley’s were strong at the back with McFarlane impressive in his new defensive role.
The game continued in the same vein after the interval and despite Whitley’s best efforts, they were unable to break down Benfield’s defence and it was beginning to look as if they might have to settle for a draw. However, a dramatic three minutes soon after the hour mark decided the outcome of the game. Chris Reid, who was instrumental in much of Whitley’s play, sent a long throw from the left to the edge of the penalty area where Ryan nodded the ball back to Paul Chow whose header beat Grainger at the near post to put Whitley ahead. The goal rattled the visitors and within a minute, former Bay midfield man Andy Dugdale, who joined the Newcastle club during the summer, was booked for a foul on Paul Chow. Two minutes later, Lee Kerr raced away down the right and played a low ball across the goalmouth where Benfield defender Phil Lumsden, under pressure from Paul Chow, put the ball into his own net to give Whitley the cushion of a two goal lead.
Several of Benfield’s players began to lose their composure, arguing among themselves; while Whitley maintained their discipline and during the last 20 minutes introduced all three substitutes, Phil Bell, Chris Moore and Darren Reay, each of whom played their part in what was an extremely encouraging all round team effort. The visitors did mount some late attacks and had they pulled one goal back it could have led to an anxious finale but the Bay defence looked reassuringly solid and Terry Burke, back between the posts, dealt comfortably with the few shots he had to save. Five minutes from time, Benfield’s normally dangerous striker Michael Chilton looked to be in with a chance of pulling a goal back as he broke through on the right but he put the ball high and wide.
Four successive victories have certainly lifted spirits at Hillheads and more of the same will see Whitley snapping at the heels of the league leaders come the end of December.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Taylor, Timmons, McFarlane, Coulson, Ryan, Fawcett(Reay 81mins), Robinson(Bell 71mins), Chow(Moore 75mins), Kerr, Reid.