|FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round||124|
|Saturday 16th August 2008||Northallerton Town V Whitley Bay||1-3|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley deservedly came out on top at Northallerton in the opening round of the most famous of all football knockout competitions, the FA Cup. After a disappointing start to the league season, this was a much needed victory from the point of view of team confidence and club finance.
Lee Picton returned from holiday and took his place in the side and captain David Coulson was back in the starting eleven but Lee Kerr and Mark Minto had to be content with places on the substitutes’ bench.
The game got underway in warm sunshine and Whitley soon threatened the home goal when Picton’s throw was headed on to Paul Chow who in turn got a header on target but keeper Pisani comfortably made the save. This turned out to be a rare attack as for much of the half Northallerton had the greater share of possession without seriously troubling Terry Burke in the Bay goal. The home side forced a series of corners but the Whitley defence were in control and restricted the Yorkshiremen to long range shots which failed to find the target.
Whitley were not able to mount another meaningful attack until just after the half hour but when they did, it proved crucial, Chris Moore playing the ball in from the right to Paul Chow who advanced a few paces before driving a low shot across the keeper and into the net. The goal stirred the home side and just four minutes later Lee Court hit the post with a close range effort that was cleared to safety. Just before the interval, Davies tried an optimistic shot from around 30 yards but the ball flew over the bar and Whitley retained their narrow advantage at the break.
On the restart, Robbie Livermore replaced Lee Picton, who had been struggling with a groin injury. Christian Graham, who had been working hard in midfield, but like several of his team mates was guilty of a number of misplaced passes, burst through and seeing Pisani off his line lobbed the ball from the edge of the area but the keeper caught the ball above his head.
Despite leading, Whitley were not looking convincing and in a bid to improve the situation, both Minto and Kerr were introduced. Within a minute of coming off the bench, Lee Kerr doubled Whitley’s lead. Moore was again the provider, his cross from the right eluding the home defence and reaching Minto at the back post, whose close range effort was half blocked by the keeper. The ball was rolling towards the line but in a crowded goalmouth, Kerr was first to the ball and he slid it into the net to give Whitley a two goal lead.
Whitley were looking increasingly confident now and the dangerous Moore nearly added a third when he cut in and drove the ball inches over the bar with the keeper expecting a cross.
With 15 minutes left, Northallerton gave themselves hope when they pulled a goal back, Jason Newell escaping his marker to head home from a right wing corner. Whitley had a few anxious moments but in truth, the home side lacked the finishing power that was needed and it was Whitley who posed the greater threat in the closing stages. Kerr broke clear on the left and raced through only to fire just over the bar. Shortly afterwards, he produced a mazy run along the by-line and crossed into the goalmouth but Chow’s goalbound header was saved by the keeper.
In the last minute, Whitley made the game safe with a third goal and it came in similar fashion to the second. Chris Moore went past his man and to the by line, played the ball back to Mark Minto and then Paul Chow, whose effort was blocked before Lee Kerr got his second goal of the game, driving the ball into the net from close range.
This was far from a classic or even convincing performance but it was a win and earned Whitley £750 in prize money together with a place in the next round when there will be £1500 for the winners.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Timmons, Picton (Livermore 45mins), Smith(Kerr 64mins), Coulson, McFarlane(Minto 54mins), Moore, Robson, Ryan, Chow, Graham.