WHITLEY BAY 0 STOCKTON TOWN 2
Saturday 9th February
Two second half goals earned in-form Stockton Town their fifth consecutive victory on a very windy afternoon at Hillheads. Both sides struggled to cope with the extremely difficult conditions in the first half when there was barely a shot on target, but after the break, the visitors made the most of their chances whereas Whitley failed to capitalize on their opportunities.
Passes frequently went astray in the first half and although Whitley had the wind at their backs, they found it difficult to control the ball and most attempts on goal flew high and wide. Craig McFarlane made two important and well timed tackles to cut out attacking moves by Stockton so young keeper Ross Logan was rarely troubled. Ben Christensen curled a shot wide following good build up play in the 37th minute then three minutes later Ryan Redford had a shot deflected wide for a corner. Two minutes before the interval Logan was called into action to keep out an attempt from Stockton midfielder Kevin Hayes.
Given so little goalmouth action it was hardly surprising that the game remained goal less at the interval.
With the wind gradually easing after the restart, the visitors showed more composure and they took the lead in the 52nd minute when Mikey Roberts headed home from a right wing corner after the Bay defence failed to cut out the flag kick.
On the hour mark, a nasty challenge on McFarlane left the Bay defender requiring treatment and earned Mohammed a caution. Five minutes later Whitley might have equalized but Anchors’ skipper Adam Nicholson made a goal line clearance to keep out a close range shot from Peter Glen-Ravenhill following a low cross from Olly Martin. Whitley were battling well at his stage and three minutes later Glen-Ravenhill’s cross into the six yard box was saved by the diving keeper just ahead of Andrei Ardelean.
The visitors delivered a body blow to Bay hopes in the 71st minute when slack defending allowed Roberts space to turn and drive a low shot past Logan after the ball had been played into the goalmouth from the left by Risbrough.
Luke Salmon replaced Olly Martin for the final 15 minutes and he almost made a impact when he drove in a low cross from the left but Ardelean scooped the ball over the bar under pressure from keeper Moody.
Stockton substitute Bulmer was denied by Logan two minutes later before a great goal line clearance kept the ball out, then at the other end a late effort by Salmon failed to hit the target.
Their second half performance earned Stockton the points but there was a lack of real entertainment for the fans with the conditions minimizing the opportunity for good quality football.
WHITLEY BAY: Logan, McFarlane, Walton, Christensen, Hassan, Taylor, Glen-Ravenhill, R Redford, Ardelean, Wright(Brannen 80mins), Martin (Salmon 74mins)
Substitutes not used: Anderson, Caines, Ramsey
Referee: Helen Conley
Man of the match: Craig McFarlane