|Arngrove Northern League Division One||172|
|Tuesday 1st April 2008||Whitley Bay V West Auckland Town||3-2|
Match Report By Peter Fox
This was always going to be a tricky game after the disappointment of Saturday, and it was a much changed Bay side which took to the field, with Burke, Taylor, Picton, Smith and Kerr all missing from starting line up. Young keeper Tom Kindley made his first team debut and in came Dugdale, Douglas, Rowe and Livermore too.
With a howling gale blowing this was never going to be a classic, but West settled more quickly. Andy Dugdale did well to prevent Danny Richmond getting on the end of an inviting pass and then Kindley rushed out of his goal to clear a long ball but the ball broke to Stuart Owens who shot against the post from outside the area as Bay defenders rushed back in attempt to clear the danger.
Kindley was looking confident handling crosses while at the other end Whitley were slowly coming to life and West keeper Mark Bell didnít look too confident punching clear a corner but it wasnít until the 16th minute that Whitley had an effort on goal when Paul Chow turned and got a low shot in which Bell did well to collect.
Damon Robson got in a good tackle on Stuart Owens to win the ball and set Robbie Livermore away but the West defence quickly crowded him out.
West nearly took the lead when Dale Jardine collected a long ball and his dipping shot cleared Kindley but also the bar.
Christian Graham almost created a chance when he put decent ball through the West defence but hesitation between Chris Moore and Dean Douglas meant the chance was lost.
Whitley forced the breakthrough after 27 minutes when they were awarded a free kick about 25 yards from goal. Paul Robinson but the ball into the six yard box where Brian Rowe got his foot to it to flick it past Bell.
Whitley should have doubled their lead a few minutes later when after Robinson had blasted the ball into a wall from a free kick, the ball was worked to Dugdale on the right of the penalty area. His shot beat Bell but came back off the inside of the post. The West defence still couldnít clear and when the ball fell to Robinson six yards out his shot was somehow deflected wide by Bell.
Whitley regretted these misses after 34 minutes when West equalised. Kindley had done well to hold a shot from Bryan Stewart but moments later he failed to control a back pass and Neil Robinson nipped into score.
Only a couple of minutes later and West were 2-1 up when Bay were caught square at the back with a through ball to Paul Freary who rounded Kindley when he rushed from goal and slipped the ball home.
Right on half time a great cross from Chow somehow eluded Livermore right in front of the West goal but there was no doubt Whitley were looking a little ragged towards half time.
At the start of the second half Whitley looked a little more confident but passes were still going astray. After 54 minutes Chris Moore got in a fine cross which Chow connected with but Bell managed to tip the ball over. Three minutes later and Bay were level. Douglas broke down the left, cut along the touchline and crossed for Livermore to fire home from six yards.
Mark Minto was introduced for Douglas and he nearly scored when he connected with a Moore cross on the volley but hit the ball straight at Bell. Lee Kerr came on for Chris Graham and he played in Minto but he couldnít pick out anyone with his cross.
The second half was actually scrappier than the first so it came as something of a surprise when Moore picked up the ball in midfield, ran and unleashed a low 20 yard shot that fairly whistled into the bottom corner of the net giving Bell no chance with ten minutes to play.
Chow shot weakly at Bell and then Moore put Kerr through but after beating a couple of defenders he curled the ball wide of goal with only Bell to beat.
Young defender Carl Bell was introduced for Robinson and he looked quite surefooted as West Auckland pressed towards the end but Bay held on for a good three points considering the circumstances.
Bay: Kindley, Dugdale, Douglas (Minto), Rowe, Coulson, Graham (Kerr) Moore, Robson, Chow, Livermore, Robinson (Bell)