|skilltrainingltd League Division One||394|
|Saturday 18th April 2009||Whitley Bay V West Auckland Town||4-1|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley eventually ran out comfortable winners against bottom of the table West Auckland on Saturday bringing their goal tally to 15 from their last three games. However, this was not as sparkling a performance as the previous two games, at West Allotment and Bishop Auckland.
To be fair to the visitors, they battled much harder than their near neighbours had done on Wednesday evening and the opening stages were largely fought out in midfield with few shots on target in the first 20 minutes.
Once again, Ian Chandler rotated his squad to keep his players fresh with the hectic fixture schedule continuing. After a rather uneventful opening quarter of the game, Chris Fawcett broke away down the left wing and outpaced his marker, but his cross into the goalmouth was blocked by the hand of defender Neil Bell just inside the penalty area. Lee Kerr comfortably beat keeper Gareth Young from the spot to give Whitley a 24th minute lead. This brought some life into what had been a low key start to the game and two minutes later, Chris Moore ran through the middle of the Auckland defence and fired a good effort just beyond the far post.
A looping shot from Kerr was tipped over the bar by Young and shortly afterwards, David Coulson headed wide from Kerr’s cross. At half time there was only a single goal separating the sides, but the feeling was that Whitley were capable of stepping up their game in the second half.
Chow was replaced by Robinson after the interval, with Lee Kerr moving up from midfield to join Phil Bell in attack. The tempo of the game changed little for the next 15 minutes then around the hour mark, Damon Robson and Mark Taylor came off the bench, replacing Bell and Reay.
Kerr had the ball in the net following a cross from Moore but the goal was ruled out by an offside flag. Whitley were gradually stepping up the pace and on 67 minutes, Craig McFarlane raced through from midfield and slotted the ball past Young for an excellent individual goal which not only boosted Whitley but seemed to deflate a tiring West Auckland side who had given their all in the first half. The result was that Whitley’s play became much more attractive and threatening. Chances were created with relative ease and Coulson was only just off target with a header from Moore’s cross.
The visitors’ defence was beginning to wilt under the pressure and Chris Moore went past his marker time and again. Fourteen minutes from time, he again got past his man and crossed the ball into the goalmouth where Kerr fired the ball past Young for Whitley’s third goal.
Four minutes later, Chris Fawcett raced away down the left and as he was about to cross the ball into the goalmouth, he was tripped by Graham Kine and for the second time in the game, the referee awarded a penalty which Lee Kerr confidently tucked away to complete his hat trick, Whitley’s third in their last two games.
Two minutes from time, West Auckland got a consolation goal through Danny Richmond when uncharacteristically, Terry Burke, who had been little more than a spectator for much of the game, let a shot slip right through him.
At the final whistle, the good size crowd of just under 400 gave the Whitley players a rousing reception as they left the pitch having collected another three points to maintain their title challenge. However, with all the top seven sides winning, there was no change in positions and Whitley remain 6th, but with games in hand on all but Spennymoor Town, who Whitley visit next Saturday in what will be a crucial fixture.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Reay(Robson 58mins), Reid, McFarlane, Coulson, Ryan, Moore, Fawcett, Kerr, Bell(Taylor 65mins), Chow(Robinson 46mins)