MITRE BROOKS MILESON MEMORIAL LEAGUE CUP QUARTER FINAL
NEWTON AYCLIFFE 1 WHITLEY BAY 2
Tuesday 12th February
A penalty from Craig McFarlane two minutes into stoppage time earned Whitley a place in the semi finals of the League Cup after a keenly contested cup tie at Newton Aycliffe.
There was little to choose between the sides in the two league games this season, both ending in 2-2 draws, and this cup tie turned out to be another evenly matched contest.
In a lively opening, Aycliffe’s pacey Jermaine Metz went on a long run from midfield but his misplaced final ball was comfortably cleared. In the seventh minute, a ball played in from the left saw Olly Martin’s shot blocked by keeper James Winter but an offside flag had already been raised. Four minutes later a low cross into the goalmouth from Peter Glen-Ravenhill was smothered by Winter just ahead of Andrei Ardelean. Aycliffe continued to pose a threat and were enjoying the greater share of possession but despite good approach work, they were failing to break down a well disciplined Bay defence and shots from distance were failing to find the target.
Whitley took the lead in the 31st minute when Glen-Ravenhill’s excellent pass out to the left edge of the 18 yard box found Ardelean in space and the young striker slotted the ball confidently beyond Winter for his 10th goal of the season. Within two minutes, Whitley had the ball in the Aycliffe net again but Luke Salmon’s shot was ruled offside. The hosts responded with Matthews and Gavin both setting up chances which came to nothing. When they mounted another attack Logan punched clear before blocking a follow-up shot so at half time Whitley retained their slender lead.
Within two minutes of the restart, Logan was called into action again, diving low to keep out a shot from Shaun Hudson. Four minutes later Whitley were forced into making a change when Ardelean was unable to continue and was replaced by Stephen Ramsey. The former South Shields striker soon made an impact, playing a superb through ball for Olly Martin who closed in on goal only to be thwarted by defender Scott Howes who forced him wide before putting in a crucial tackle to keep his side in the tie.
Aycliffe pushed forward and drew level in the 63rd minute. A free kick into the box was nodded on and Metz produced a neat close range finish.
There were some strong tackles coming in as both sides searched for a winner and there was a flurry of yellow cards, some for seemingly innocuous challenges while more questionable ones were allowed to go unpunished.
Thirteen minutes from time, a corner from Salmon crashed off the near post while the introduction of Kieran Brannen gave the hosts problems as the youngster used his pace to good effect down the right wing. On the opposite flank, Lewis Walton played the ball through to Ryan Redford whose effort was blocked. It was beginning to look as if the game would go to a penalty shoot out but Whitley kept battling away and after Metz flashed a shot narrowly wide for the hosts, a long kick from Logan in the second minute of added time was played forward to Redford and as he burst through on the left edge of the box he was brought down by Aycliffe keeper James Winter. Referee Chris Keightley pointed to the spot and McFarlane sent Winter the wrong way with a well executed penalty. Less than 60 seconds later the final whistle was blown and Whitley were able to celebrate a hard earned place in the last four of the competition.
WHITLEY BAY: Logan, McFarlane, Walton, Christensen, Hassan, Anderson(Taylor 75mins), Martin(Brannen 80mins), R Redford, Ardelean(Ramsey 51mins), Glen-Ravenhill, Salmon
Substitutes not used: Caines, Cooper.
Cautions: Martin, McFarlane, Ramsey
Referee: Christopher Keightley