|skilltrainingltd League Division One||117|
|Wednesday 29th April 2009||Northallerton Town V Whitley Bay||0-2|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
It was another long midweek journey for Whitley and their fans but while the weather was again fine with some early evening sunshine, the game itself was very different from Monday’s match at Penrith.
With the title challenge over, the atmosphere seemed much more relaxed and Whitley fielded a much changed team against a Northallerton side that was already doomed to relegation to the Second Division.
The main talking point for Bay fans was the appearance of Ian Chandler in his familiar number nine shirt, his first competitive game of the season. Lee Kerr was completing his three match suspension and David Coulson and Leon Ryan were both rested. Chris Bone and Damon Robson played defensive roles while Paul Robinson was captain for the night.
Whitley were soon on the attack and after Moore and Chow both had shots on target, Ian Chandler himself saw an effort deflected wide by a defender. Phil Bell’s header then trickled wide as Whitley were comfortably in control.
A misplaced pass by Darren Reay let the home side in on goal but Allison’s shot was comfortably saved by Rob McLean, deputising for Terry Burke. Two minutes before the interval Whitley had the ball in the Town net and it was Ian Chandler who poked the ball home only to see his attempt ruled out by the offside flag, much to the disappointment of the travelling fans. Right on half time, Bell headed over from Moore’s cross but although they had created the great majority of the chances Whitley were still looking for the breakthrough when the whistle blew.
Chris Reid replaced his manager after the break and Adam Johnston soon came on in place of Phil Bell as the pattern of the game continued. Just past the hour mark, Paul Robinson tested keeper Clements with a rasping shot after a corner had been played out to the edge of the area. Moments later, Whitley had strong claims for a penalty turned down when Chris Moore was pushed to the ground after racing into the Northallerton penalty area. Darren Reay’s free kick from 20 yards out was fumbled by the keeper who grabbed the ball on the goal line.
Whitley’s increased pressure finally brought its reward with 65 minutes played when Paul Robinson beat Clements with a fine shot from 15 yards that flew across the keeper and into the top corner of the net.
Chris Reid and then Adam Johnston both tried their luck as the home side’s brave resistance began to fade. At the other end, Whitley were rarely troubled by Northallerton’s youthful side who have struggled all season.
Nine minutes from time Whitley made the game safe when Johnston broke from around the half way line and closed in on goal before beating Clements comfortably for what was Whitley’s 100th league goal of the season, a landmark that was celebrated in style by the Whitley fans behind the goal. Northallerton is becoming a happy landmark venue for Whitley, as this time last season, a much smaller gathering of Bay fans were celebrating with Lee Kerr as he scored his 100th goal for the club.
This was a comfortable victory in North Yorkshire for a Bay side that was never really stretched and given their hectic schedule of games, it was an evening when given the strength of his squad, Ian Chandler could afford to give several senior players a well deserved rest ahead of what is now a potential championship decider on Saturday when a point for Consett at Hillheads would give them the title.
WHITLEY BAY: McLean, Reay, Picton, Anderson, Bone(Ryan 78mins), Robson, Moore, Bell(Johnston 55mins), Chandler(Reid 46mins), Chow, Robinson