|skilltrainingltd League Division One||350|
|Saturday 7th November 2009||South Shields V Whitley Bay||3-1|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Although Whitley did not in all honesty do enough to deserve victory, this is a game that they would probably have won but for a refereeing blunder eight minutes from time. At that stage, with the scores level and South Shields down to ten men, Chris Fawcett was tripped as he raced into the penalty area but for some inexplicable reason the referee refused to award what was a blatant penalty. Amid protests from the Bay team, Adam Johnston was sent off and then in the final five minutes the Mariners scored twice. As if to add insult to injury, the referee later admitted that he had made the wrong decision about the penalty incident.David Coulson was back in the side following his one match ban, but Richard Hodgson and Callum Anderson were only on the bench, as was, somewhat surprisingly, Paul Robinson.
Very very disappointed, after a good showing on Tuesday v Benfield we reverted back to very flat performances against Spennymoor & Tow Law.
A dismal first half where we seemed to have no threat and defended very poorly, especially for the goal which I thought came from a multiple of errors.
The second half started with more effort and intent, our wingers actually went by their opponent, delivering quite a few crosses which helped us stretch Shields and eventually lead to our equaliser in which Adam did very well to find Chowie who finished well.
At that point there was only one winner, the sending off their player only put pressure on the referee and he dually crumbled when he denied us the most blatant penalty I and 99% of the crowd have ever seen. This obviously lead to Adam calling the referee a word similar to “HEAT” and lead to his red card, the referee after the game has actually said he now knows it was a penalty, at the time he said Chris did not dive, but there was no contact, sounds like an act of god to me.
This incident resulted in us losing focus, and dually conceded 2 further goals, both again very poorly defended, the second goal was very similar to the first in that a cross in to the 6 yard box and an easy header from their forward.
The third was a very dubious penalty, however Terry might have done better from the initial shot.
All in all very disappointed, more so because we again looked like we had no real threat going forward, compounded with terrible defending.
Soon afterwards, there was lengthy delay when Shields keeper Niki Lawson was injured as he went for a high ball with Paul Chow and one of his own defenders. He fell awkwardly and needed treatment to his hip but was able to continue, though not with full mobility for much of the next half hour. Whitley failed to capitalise on the situation and after a shot from Chow was narrowly off target, Reid did eventually test the keeper with a low shot that he saved comfortably.
The home side were looking the more dangerous while Whitley were struggling in midfield and failed to put any sustained pressure on the home defence. Chris Moore was making little impression with opponents quick to close him down whenever he got the ball. Passes were repeatedly going astray and it was the Mariners who seemed hungrier for the ball. All that Whitley could manage was a header from Bell that was just too high and a free kick from Reid that ended up in the net but came to nothing as the officials spotted an infringement on the keeper.
Whitley needed to make changes at the interval if they were to get back in the game and Ian Chandler brought on all three permitted substitutes, Hodgson, Robinson and Johnston. There were soon signs of improvement with Hodgson’s delivery into the goalmouth creating more chances but it was only in the 63rd minute that a real opportunity came when Coulson’s flick shot rebounded off the bar and Ryan headed just over the bar.
Two minutes later Whitley were back on level terms when a long ball found Johnston whose quick control put him clear of the defence. He brought the ball wide and past the keeper but rather than shooting from a narrow angle with a defender racing back, he cut the ball across the penalty area to Paul Chow who fired home from 12 yards.
At last Whitley were beginning to gain the upper hand and four minutes later Chow broke away down the right but was brought down by Chris Feasey, who appeared to win the ball in the challenge. Feasey, who had already been booked for a trip on Moore in the first half, was shown a second yellow card and as a result was sent off. This decision outraged the South Shields manager who protested loudly and very strongly. The outcome was that he too was sent off and had to leave the dugout.
Whitley now pressed forward with renewed confidence and after David Coulson drilled the ball just over the bar, Chris Moore’s cross from the right was blocked by two defenders as Fawcett tried to connect.
Then came the penalty incident which proved to be the turning point of the game. Had the decision gone Whitley’s way, they would have had the opportunity to go ahead and with a one man advantage would most likely have gone on to win the game. However, with the extra man advantage gone, so did Whitley’s momentum.
Another piece of poor marking in defence allowed Stephen Ramsey to head the Mariners back in front just five minutes from time, while indecision by one of the referee’s assistants resulted in an offside flag being raised then dropped as the home side broke away in the dying moments of the game. Terry Burke failed to hold onto the ball when a shot came in and with play continuing near the by line some distance from goal, Burke was judged to have brought down a Shields player just inside the area as he went to claim the loose ball. This time the referee did award a penalty and it gave Jonny Wightman the opportunity to add a third goal and give the home side a somewhat flattering margin of victory.
This third consecutive league defeat leaves Whitley six points behind leaders Spennymoor and now just one head of Ashington, but with a game in hand on both teams. It highlights the folly of the claims being made a month ago that the title would be a two horse race. There is clearly still a very long way to go but Whitley will have to regain their earlier season form if they are to stay within touch of big spending Spennymoor.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Timmons(Hodgson 45mins), Fawcett, Robson, Coulson, Ryan, Moore, Bell(Johnston 45mins), Kerr(Robinson 45mins), Chow, Reid.
Subs not used: Picton, Anderson
Referee: Mr S Stockbridge