|skilltrainingltd League Division One||390|
|Saturday 6th March 2010||Whitley Bay V Horden CW||4-0|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
This was a comfortable victory for Whitley over a Horden side struggling near the foot of the table. Having lost their previous seven games, things got even worse for the Colliers when in midweek, their manager Simon Corbett resigned. His replacement, Brian Honour, was in charge at Durham when Whitley beat City in the FA Vase semi final back in 2002, and all his experience will be needed if Horden are to avoid the drop after just one season back in the First Division.
Whitley immediately went on the attack and the early signs were that Hordenís defence would struggle to contain their much more experienced opponents. With barely five minutes played, a shot from Adam Johnston crashed off the post and was cleared to the edge of the penalty area where Hordenís Martin Peace attempted to play the ball downfield. However, he completely misplaced his clearance and succeeded only in providing an inch perfect pass back into the goalmouth where Adam Johnston gratefully knocked the ball into the net from no more than four yards out. It was a comical moment for Whitley and any neutrals present but extremely embarrassing for the unfortunate Peace.
Whitley were having things much their own way and should have added to their lead eight minutes later when Lee Kerr broke away and rounded keeper Craig Shields but his ball across the goalmouth was knocked behind for a corner. Chris Moore, who was far too quick for his marker, found space on the right and when he whipped the ball into the danger area, it took a deflection off Horden defender Chris Dunwell and flew narrowly wide of the far post.
The ease with which Whitley were controlling the game seemed to encourage some rather slack and over elaborate play and as in a number of recent games, they allowed their opponents to get back in the game. After 26 minutes, Kevin Dixon was allowed too much space in midfield and he fired a shot only just wide of Terry Burkeís far post from fully 20 yards. A minute later, the Bay keeper needed two attempts the gather the ball when another long range shot bounced just in front of him, and he only just reached the loose ball ahead of on-rushing striker Jack Pounder.
Lee Kerr was played through the Horden rearguard on the half hour but failed to test Shields with a shot that flew high over the bar.
Eventually, Whitley made the most of their chances five minutes before half time, when a mistake by the Colliers allowed Johnston to win the ball after Robinsonís pass looked like being cut out by a defender. Seeing Craig McFarlane advancing from midfield, Johnston slipped the ball into his path and from 25 yards out, the youngster left Shields clawing at thin air as a tremendous shot flew into the top corner of the net to give Whitley a two goal advantage at the interval.
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Moments after an early restart and with many fans still emerging onto the terraces, Chris Moore nearly increased the lead with a shot that crashed off the bar. Playing in possibly his last League game for Whitley before an anticipated move to Darlington, Moore again went close two minutes later, this time bringing a fingertip save from Shields.
Next to go close was Damon Robson, who was playing a more attacking midfield role and drove his shot agonisingly wide of the far post. On the hour, any lingering hopes that Horden may have harboured were ended when Paul Robinson produced a clinical finish from 15 yards, drilling an angled shot past Shields from the right edge of the penalty area.
Phil Bell and Paul Chow were brought on in the last half hour to test a tiring Horden defence, with Lee Kerr dropping back into a defensive midfield slot.
Damon Robson was denied a rare goal when what initially seemed a neat and perfectly good finish to an excellent move was ruled out by an offside flag, as Whitley continued to stretch the County Durham side. More goals always seemed possible and with five minutes remaining, the visitors were punished for another lapse when Dunwell failed to cut out a long ball from midfield, allowing Adam Johnston to race clear and slot home Whitleyís fourth goal.
With time running out, Chow blazed a shot over the bar when he had the goal at his mercy following Johnstonís cross.
Robinson and Robson both had impressive games in midfield, where absentees Hodgson and Fawcett were barely missed, while in defence Coulson, Ryan and Reid were rarely tested. All in all a very comfortable win with a better second half display by Whitley, one which saw them close the gap on Spennymoor after the leaders were held to a goal less draw at Dunston.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, McFarlane(Bell 60mins), Reid, Anderson, Coulson, Ryan, Moore, Robson(Chow 71mins), Kerr, Johnston, Robinson(Waite 77mins)
Substitutes not used: Kindley, Cuggy
Referee: E Martin