|FA Vase Semi-Final 2nd Leg||2059|
|Saturday 29th March 2008||Whitley Bay V Lowestoft Town||3-0|
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Match Report By Peter Fox
Whitley Bay came up just short in their bid to overhaul a four goal deficit and reach the FA Vase final at Wembley. Many people had predicted that they wouldn’t come close but those people were eating their words after just 22 minutes when Bay were three goals up. But despite plenty of opportunities they just couldn’t break through again.
Boss Ian Chandler made three changes to the team. Out went Dean Douglas, Brian Rowe and Andy Dugdale. In Came Lee Picton, Brian Smith and Christian Graham.
One surprise in the Lowestoft team was Andy Reynolds retaining his place in goal after being carried off with a serious looking injury the week before. Lowestoft had decided to gamble with his fitness rather than risk rookie keeper Adam Rix.
Bay raced into the lead after only four minutes when the Lowestoft defence couldn’t deal with a long throw from Lee Picton. The ball ended up in the back of the net but the final touch from a Bay player seemed to be off David Coulson.. Five minutes later and Bay were two up and there was no doubt who scored this one. Paul Robinson lashed a magnificent shot in off the bar from 20 yards out leaving Andy Reynolds no chance.
Bay were rampant and Robinson was just over with another effort before Chris Moore sped past a couple of defenders and fired just wide.
The third goal came after 22 minutes and again a Picton long throw was at the heart of it. The ball was headed ob by Coulson to Paul Chow who buried a header past Reynolds. The 2059 crowd could hardly believe it.
Bay continued to press and Graham saw a shot deflected just wide before Lowestoft’s first meaningful foray into Bay territory saw Darren Cockerill just off target with a free kick.
Both Lee Kerr and Paul Chow saw shots blocked by Reynolds and then towards the end of the half Kerr set up Chow up but he shot narrowly wide.
Whitley carried on pouring forward at the start of the second half with Picton seeing a shot deflected just wide and then Reynolds producing a fine save to deny Chow.
The Lowestoft keeper was looking increasingly uncomfortable and had no chance when Brian Smith hooked in a shot but the ball just curled wide of the top corner.
Whitley were nearly caught on the break and Terry Burke had to produce a great save to keep out Cockerill but the action soon switched to the other end where Reynolds managed to block Robinson’s shot and then collect sub Mark Minto’s cross.
Whitley became increasingly desperate as time went on and reverted more and more to the long ball and although they created the odd chance they just couldn’t get the goal that would take the game into extra time. Reynolds was really suffering and was treated four times by the physio and right at the death he was rooted the spot as Smith headed just wide from a corner leaving Lowestoft players and fans to celebrate and the Whitley fans applauding a brave but ultimately fruitless effort by their team.
Bay: Burke, Taylor, Picton, Smith, Coulson, Graham, Moore (Minto 75), Robson, Chow (Woodhouse 64), Kerr, Robinson.