|Arngrove Northern League Division One||150|
|Saturday 19th April 2008||Shildon V Whitley Bay||1-1|
New : View Gallery of this game here
Match Report By Julian Tyley
This was Whitley’s third 1-1 draw in the space of eight days and as in the previous games, they came from behind to equalise midway through the first half. However, whereas they might have been expected to win against Spennymoor and West Auckland, a point represented a good achievement on Saturday with Shildon the form team of the league, having won their last seven games and currently lying in fourth place.
With the heavy schedule of fixtures, it was not surprising that Whitley rotated their squad and rested several players, this time their two leading scorers Lee Kerr and Paul Chow as well as captain David Coulson and Damon Robson, while Brian Rowe and Robbie Livermore were both suspended. Mark Taylor took over as captain for the day while the attack was led by Anthony Woodhouse and Mark Minto.
Shildon started the game with all guns blazing and twice in the first minute they might have opened the scoring. Firstly Wayne Gredziak burst through a static Bay defence and shot just over the bar, then within seconds of taking the goal kick, Terry Burke was pushing a header from Tyson Masters wide.
It looked only a matter of time before Shildon scored as they continued to torment an out of sorts rearguard but due partly to poor finishing, they failed to make their superiority tell and gradually, Whitley fought their way into the game, forcing a series of corners which came to nothing. A low shot from Dean Douglas was pushed wide by stand in keeper Liam Clough then following a good run down the right wing, Chris Moore crossed for Woodhouse to fire a first time effort wide.
Masters was then put clear on goal but was denied by a great save from Burke who dived to block the shot then recovered to grab the loose ball.
However, Shildon did eventually make the breakthrough after 31 minutes when Masters finally took his chance with a shot across goal that gave Burke no chance. Within two minutes Whitley were back on level terms thanks to a tremendous 20 yard shot from Paul Robinson that took Clough and the Shildon defence completely by surprise, the ball flashing past the keeper into the bottom corner of the net.
Whitley were now matching their opponents every inch of the way and shortly before half time Woodhouse fired a shot over the bar after an effort from Minto was blocked.
After the interval, Masters thought he had regained the lead for the Railwaymen with a close range shot but it was ruled out by the offside flag. Robinson went close for Whitley with a rasping effort that was pushed over the bar by Clough. Minto should then have done better when he broke through on goal but his shot lacked power and was easily saved.
Ian Chandler then brought on his strike duo of Chow and Kerr for the final quarter of the game and within minutes both had made an impact. Firstly Chow had the ball in the net but the goal was ruled offside, then Kerr drove a fierce 20 yard shot against the base of the post.
Whitley had a fortunate escape with just under 15 minutes remaining when Coulson, who had not been on the pitch long, headed a cross from Shildon’s Adam Emson towards his own goal but straight into the arms of Burke. Woodhouse, who had been switched to defence following the substitutions, looked assured and was helping to restrict Shildon’s attacking options.
With ten minutes left, Whitley thought they had taken the lead when Chow put the ball in the net from close range after a pass by Brian Smith but once again there was an offside flag raised, much to the dismay of the Whitley team and their sizeabe following of fans who felt this was a good goal.
Whitley were doing most of the attacking in the closing stages and a cross from Chow was just beyond Kerr, who then sent a long range shot just past the post. Shildon remained a threat however, and Emms outpaced Smith before bringing a great diving save from Burke. In the last minute of normal time, Masters wasted another chance when he put the ball wide and although both sides continued to push forward for a winner during the seven minutes of added time that was played, an entertaining game ended all square with Whitley feeling that they had done just about enough to have deserved victory after a very shaky opening period.
Consett’s win against bottom of the table Jarrow took them above Whitley into second place on goal difference, so this weekend’s game between the two sides at Consett could well decide which team finishes as runners up.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Taylor, Minto(Chow 61mins), Picton(Kerr 49mins), Smith, Dugdale(Coulson 64mins), Moore, Graham, Woodhouse, Douglas, Robinson