|skilltrainingltd League Division One||366|
|Friday 10th April 2009||West Allotment Celtic V Whitley Bay||1-5|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
A tremendous performance by Whitley provided excellent Bank Holiday entertainment for the good size crowd at Whitley Park on Good Friday. West Allotment went into the game in fifth place, two ahead of Whitley and they included three former Bay players in their squad, Steve Locker, Marc Walmsley and Mark Minto.
Allotment ran out 3-1 winners at Hillheads back in December but they never looked like repeating that success as Whitley took complete control right from the start.
Lee Kerr gave a hint of what was to come with an overhead kick that keeper Karl Dryden stretched high to collect after five minutes. Eight minutes later Whitley were in front when Lee Picton’s long throw was headed across the goalmouth by Bell and then Kerr to Leon Ryan, whose header beat Dryden at the back post. Whitley kept up the pressure and when Chris Fawcett ran clear down the right wing, his cross into the six yard box was driven into the net by Lee Kerr, leaving Dryden helpless. Two minutes later, Ryan, scorer of the crucial equaliser at Lowestoft six days earlier, got in another header but this time the ball hit the upright, rebounded back into play and another header from Ryan went wide of the target.
Whitley were playing with confidence in all areas of the field and three minutes before half time Phil Bell got the goal that his tremendous work rate deserved. Collecting the ball out on the right, he closed in on goal, took the ball round the keeper and despite the attention of a defender, calmly slotted an angled shot into the net from ten yards. Three goals ahead at half time, Whitley were cruising to victory and with Taylor, Coulson and Ryan dominant in defence, the home side had barely created a chance. Five minutes into the second half Allotment did finally get a shot on target but David Potts did not trouble Terry Burke, who saved comfortably.
The confidence of the home side could not have been improved when, six minutes after the restart, Ian Chandler brought on Chris Moore and Paul Chow, two players who have scored more than 40 goals between them this season. It did not take long for Chow to make an impact, getting on the end of a cross from Fawcett, only to see his header blocked. Fawcett was causing all sorts of problems for the lethargic looking Allotment defence and a similar move a few minutes later ended with Chow heading just over the bar.
The home side brought on Mark Minto for the final quarter of the game but in contrast to his performance at Hillheads earlier in the season, the former Bay favourite could make little impression with his side struggling as Whitley maintained control in all areas of the park.
Whitley’s fourth goal came after Chris Moore was held back by Marc Walmsley as he raced into the penalty area. The referee awarded a spot kick which Lee Kerr placed right in the corner, giving Dryden no chance.
Keith Douglas scored from close range after 74 minutes to give Allotment what was no more than a consolation goal then eight minutes from time, another excellent move brought Whitley their fifth goal. Damon Robson won the ball just outside the penalty area and went past three defenders before delivering a perfect cross for Chow to head home just in front of the advancing keeper.
This was as comprehensive a victory as the score suggests and coming against a top six side, it emphasised the quality of Whitley’s performance. Some fans may have feared that the players would now have their minds on Wembley and that league results would suffer but on the evidence of this game and the one at Benfield earlier in the week, confidence is high and the belief still exists that Whitley could yet win the league title. While that may be a tall order, a top three finish can certainly not be ruled out.
These are exciting times for everyone involved with Whitley Bay FC!
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Taylor, Picton(Chow 51mins), McFarlane(Moore 51mins), Coulson, Ryan, Fawcett, Robson, Kerr, Bell(Robinson 65mins), Reid