|Arngrove Northern League Division One||241|
|Saturday 5th January 2008||Whitley Bay V Billingham Town||3-1|
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Match Report By Peter Fox
Bay produced a great second half performance to get a win and with other results going in their favour they are well and truly in the mix at the top of the table.
Brian Rowe and Mark Minto were back on the bench with Lee Picton and Dean Douglas as manager Ian Chandler elected to start with the eleven that finished against Bedlington.
Whitley got off to the worst possible start with Stuart Banks setting up Steve Flockett to side foot past Terry Burke in the opening minute of the game with the home defence caught cold.
Whitley tried to hit back immediately and Paul Robinson played in Douglas who shot straight at Darren Collier in the Town goal. Robinson did likewise from the edge of the box moments later but Whitley were fortunate to escape going two goals down when Steve Huggins picked up on a loose header from Anthony Woodhouse but shot wide from a good position.
Although the home defence looked a bit jittery things were starting to come together a bit at the other end and after Lee Kerr hit a free kick over the bar he connected with a Chris Moore cross but again the shot was straight at Collier.
Whitley’s defensive uncertainty was again exposed when Burke was adjudged to have picked up a back pass but Billingham wasted the opportunity, simply blasting the ball against Bay’s defensive wall.
Town still looked threatening and after a Banks shot was blocked Nathan Jameson’s follow up effort was easily collected by Burke.
Just after the half hour Robinson tried a 20 yard shot which was well taken by Collier then at the other end Flockett shot wide after the ball broke to him on the edge of the box.
Chris Moore was causing problems down the Whitley right and David Coulson got on the end of a good cross from Moore but only succeeded in heading tamely at Collier.
Flockett was proving a problem for Bay and they could have easily paid the price for letting him run unchallenged on goal but Burke tipped his shot over.
After Douglas fired in a low cross which somehow eluded both Kerr and Paul Chow, the action switched to other end when Jameson shot straight at Burke at the end of a good move, then Flockett got in a cross which the Whitley defence scrambled away from James Magowan before he could control the ball. Near half time a good through ball from Christian Graham played Chow in on goal but the striker could only shoot tamely at goal when under pressure from a defender.
So an entertaining half ended with Bay one goal down and on the balance of play they were probably slightly lucky it wasn’t more, although Town did have the wind in their favour during the first half,
Whitley started the second half in more aggressive mood and Graham’s shot was well held by Collier. The equaliser wasn’t long on coming though. Kerr ran onto a good through ball from Graham after 53 minutes and finished emphatically past Collier for his 12th goal in the last five games.
Whitley were starting to boss the game and Chow looked certain to put the home side in front but under pressure and from a tight angle he had to try to cut the ball back to Kerr and the chance was lost.
Both teams were reduced to ten men after 64 minutes Woodhouse and Banks were involved in a flare up following a tackle, an incident which was in general out of context with the rest of the match.
The flow of the match wasn’t disrupted though and Chris Moore smacked a 20 shot off the post with Collier beaten all ends up. Bay weren’t to be denied though and after 68 minutes Graham was again the architect as Chow raced onto his through ball and beat Collier with a low shot.
Little had been seen of Billingham in the second half but Jameson was just off target after picking up the ball after an error from Lee Picton.
Whitley were playing some great football now and grabbed the vital third goal after 77 minutes. Sub Mark Minto broke down the left and passed to Graham just inside the penalty area. He turned his defender and twisted to cross the ball into the six yard box where Chow thumped a header past Collier.
The game was up now although former Bay player Tony Chapman could have given Town a lifeline but shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Whitley nearly had the last word when Robinson saw his shot deflected for a corner but this had been a cracking advert for Northern League football between two attack minded teams and Bay deservedly came out on top.
Bay: Burke, Woodhouse, Douglas (Minto), Picton, Coulson, Graham, Moore Robson (Taylor), Chow (Livermore), Kerr, Robinson