|skilltrainingltd League Division One||228|
|Tuesday 12th August 2008||Whitley Bay V Ryton||2-2|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley battled back from two goals down to earn a point with a last gasp equaliser against newly promoted Ryton on a dull and wet evening at Hillheads. This was an improvement on Saturday’s performance but still far from satisfactory with too many players well below their best.
Damon Robson was back in the side and took over the captain’s armband with David Coulson on the substitutes’ bench. In other changes from the Tow Law game, Paul Chow and Mark Minto both started the game with Leon Ryan playing in defence alongside Darren Timmons and Anthony Woodhouse. Paul Robinson was still suffering from the injury he suffered against Tow Law.
After a fairly quiet opening, Whitley’s first real attack came when Mark Minto’s cross was fired wide by Lee Kerr. Ryton were comfortably holding their own and with 13 minutes on the clock they took the lead when Terry Burke could only help Marc Walton’s powerful downward header over the line from point blank range. The visitors were full of running and did not allow Whitley time on the ball. The game became a midfield battle with few chances until the half hour when Lee Kerr’s shot took a slight deflection but unlike the similar incident in the Tow Law game, the keeper was able to recover and make the save. A minute later, Chris Moore changed wings and his cross from the left was headed just wide by Chow. Just before the interval Moore tried a long range shot with the keeper partially unsighted but the ball flew wide of the target.
After half time, Whitley gradually came more into the game and after 53 minutes, Chow’s shot from Moore’s cross crashed off the outside of the post with keeper Starford beaten. A minute later Whitley thought they had equalised when Kerr’s shot deflected off Chow and flew into the net, only for an offside flag, presumably against Chow, to rule out the effort. Shortly afterwards, Robbie Livermore and David Coulson came off the bench replacing McFarlane and Woodhouse, but just past the hour mark, confusion in the Whitley rearguard cost them a second goal.
From a long ball into the Bay defence, Darren Timmons attempted a back header to Burke, who was closer than Timmons thought and the ball looped high above the Whitley keeper, who made a great save, leaping to push the ball away from goal. However, Ryton striker Marc Walton reacted quickly and pounced on the loose ball, tapping home his second goal of the game from close range.
It looked all over for Whitley at this stage and the sizeable contingent of visiting fans were ready to celebrate what would have been their first victory on the top flight of the Northern League. However, in a last throw of the dice, Ian Chandler brought off Christian Graham and replaced him with Brian Smith, pushing Leon Ryan up front as an extra forward. The move quickly paid dividends when just four minutes later, Ryan leapt above the Ryton defence to head home Moore’s pin point cross. Whitley were pushing forward at every opportunity but the visitors were defending in depth and in particular giving Lee Kerr no space at all.
A rare breakaway by Ryton almost sealed victory for them, Walton breaking through before Burke blocked his shot and in attempting to complete what would have been a hat trick, the Ryton man fired wide of goal.
Four minutes from time, Whitley were denied what appeared a clear cut penalty following a mistake by Starford. The Ryton keeper mishit a goal kick straight to Kerr who ran through on goal but was brought down by a defender, then as he attempted to recover was held back by the keeper. The referee did not see fit to penalise either incident and allowed play to continue.
Whitley were putting the Ryton defence under increasing pressure and moments later, Moore’s cross was only parried and knocked behind for a corner. In the last minute of normal time, Moore was fouled some 25 yards from goal but uncharacteristically retaliated and was sent off. His opponent was given a yellow card and Whitley were awarded a free kick which came to nothing.
Two minutes into added time, Whitley won a corner on the left. The ball was played deep beyond the far post where it was headed back into the goalmouth. After a scramble which saw the ball fly around the six yard box, David Coulson powered a shot into the net as four Ryton players lay helpless on the ground. Back on level terms was no more than Whitley deserved and in the remaining time, there was yet another penalty claim, this time when Chow appeared to be held back as he ran through on goal.
A draw was probably a fair result although Ryton were naturally disappointed to have conceded such a late equaliser. On the evidence of this game, they certainly look capable of holding their own in the First Division.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Minto, McFarlane(Livermore 56mins), Timmons, Ryan, Woodhouse(Coulson 56mins), Moore, Robson, Kerr, Chow, Graham(Smith 64mins)