|skilltrainingltd League Division One||495|
|Saturday 8th August 2009||Whitley Bay V Consett||1-0|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley delighted their ever increasing number of fans with a winning start to the new season, thanks to a second half goal from Lee Kerr. In their first competitive game since that glorious day at Wembley just three months ago, they were made to battle all the way by last season’s League runners up Consett.On a warm and sunny afternoon, a crowd of almost 500 witnessed a hard fought game which Whitley just about edged thanks to their second half performance. In the starting line up was Whitley’s one new signing, midfielder Richard Hodgson, while in the absence of David Coulson, away on holiday, Leon Ryan took the captain’s armband and Chris Reid came into the side in the centre of defence.
Consett looked the more dangerous side in the first half with lone striker Adam Emson a constant threat. Terry Burke was in action early on with two good saves from the tall Consett man. Lee Kerr then lobbed a through ball from Hodgson over the bar and soon afterwards Chris Moore raced clear down the wing and his cross was claimed by keeper Daniel Staples just ahead of Paul Chow. With 20 minutes played, Emson broke away on the Consett left but was again denied by the dive of Terry Burke who pushed the ball wide of goal.
Back at the other end, Chris Fawcett’s cross into the goalmouth was put behind by Consett captain Carl Piecha. A quick break downfield ended with Burke diving to collect the ball at the feet of Emson just as the striker was about to shoot.
Just past the half hour a great ball by Hodgson put Paul Chow clear but under pressure from a recovering defender he slid the ball just wide of the post.
Both sides were working hard but the visitors looked more threatening with neat and accurate passing of the ball. However, half time came with the game still goal less.
After the interval, Whitley gradually gained more control but after Johnston fired a shot just over the bar, Emson again threatened as he ghosted past a defender but his shot was off target.
Just past the hour came the goal that was to decide the game. Following a Consett corner, Chris Fawcett, playing as a wing back, sent a clearance from defence through to Paul Robinson who neatly lifted the ball over a defender and into the path of Chris Moore. Clear on goal, Moore lobbed the ball over the advancing Staples and seemed certain to score, but the ball bounced a few yards out and hit the bar, rebounding back into play. Lee Kerr reacted quickly, driving the ball home past a despairing defender from an acute angle.
Immediately after the goal a double substitution saw Phil Bell and Callum Anderson replace Chow and Hodgson. Consett retaliated forcing a corner which Burke did well to push away from goal. Another corner a few minutes later almost produced an equaliser but Chris Reid, who was having a great game, hooked the ball away from the goalmouth. Also in defence, Callum Anderson hardly put a foot wrong during his half hour on the pitch and for someone so young he looks a real talent.
In the closing stages Whitley had chances to extend their lead and make the game safe. Chris Moore played the ball through to Paul Robinson, whose shot was cleared off the line by Consett’s Chris Scott. Then in stoppage time Kerr chipped the ball narrowly wide after breaking clear on the left.
Consett looked a strong, well organised side and will doubtless be among the sides challenging for the title again this season. All the more credit therefore to Whitley for their hard earned victory, which will be a great confidence booster ahead of two tough encounters with Dunston in the coming week.
Whitley Bay: Burke, McFarlane, Fawcett, Hodgson(Anderson 61mins), Reid, Ryan, Moore, Kerr, Johnston(Picton 74mins), Chow(Bell 61mins), Robinson.