FA VASE 5th ROUND
TRURO CITY 0 WHITLEY BAY 3
Whitley Bay triumphantly marched into the quarter finals of the FA Vase thanks to a truly magnificent performance in Cornwall. Truro City won the Vase at Wembley last season and were hot favourites to retain the trophy but despite a 460 mile journey to the West Country, Whitley and their fans enjoyed one of the most memorable victories in the club’s history.
On a mild and sunny afternoon, Whitley started well in front of a crowd in excess of 1500, with both Lee Picton and Paul Robinson prominent in early attacks. Whitley were having more of the possession but strong defending by Truro prevented any chances on goal.
With 20 minutes played City lifted their fans with an attack that ended with the ball being lobbed high and wide of goal. Five minutes later Robinson fired a low shot that City keeper Jason Chapman pushed past the post. Whitley looked under pressure when Truro set up a dangerous looking attack, but the defence denied the home side a shot on goal. Shortly before the interval, Lee Picton had to be replaced after he failed to recover from being hit on the head by a ball that rebounded into him from close range. Neither side was able to make the break through in an evenly contested first half but Truro went close in stoppage time when Scott Walker saw his shot pushed onto the top of the bar by Bay keeper Terry Burke.
Both sides looked to attack from the start in the second period and with six minutes played, Walker again tried his luck but his shot from out on the left flew over the bar. For Whitley, Robinson was then just off target with a good effort. Lee Kerr, who had not really got into the game during the first half, began to find space as Truro became more attack minded. On 57 minutes Whitley thought they had taken the lead when Kerr fired home after Chapman could only parry Paul Chow’s shot but an offside flag was raised and the goal did not stand.
However, Whitley were beginning to get on top and four minutes later, it was Kerr’s turn to test Chapman with a great shot that the keeper did well to push away. Just as Chow was about to reach the ball close to the by line, he was upended by a defender and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Kerr sent the keeper the wrong way with a spot kick that hit the inside of the post as it went in, and Whitley were in the lead.
This stirred the Truro team and they forced Whitley back in numbers as they searched for the equaliser. Resolute defending by every member of the team kept the holders out but not without a few scares. Indeed with 70 minutes on the clock, the crowd erupted when Chris Reski headed the ball into the Bay net after a flowing move but to the relief of the visitors an offside flag had been raised and Whitley’s lead remained intact. Truro substitute Ian Gosling combined with Walker in a threatening attack but Brian Rowe showed all his experience as he cleared the ball from the goalmouth.
Whitley looked dangerous whenever they broke away and when Chow’s cross found Kerr wide on the right, Chapman rescued his side with a good block to deny Whitley a second goal. The pair who had been kept quiet earlier in the game were now posing all sorts of problems and ten minutes from time, Chow flicked on the ball for Kerr to fire past Chapman into the corner of the net to send the Bay fans wild with delight. Truro were beaten as the players reactions showed. Heads dropped and in the closing stages Whitley dominated proceedings. Dean Douglas, who had worked tirelessly after having replaced Picton, curled a beautiful free kick towards the top corner of the net but Chapman made a great diving save to push the ball behind. Substitute Christian Graham played the free kick to the near post where Chow sent a glancing header over the keeper for Whitley’s third goal. With six minutes still to play, Whitley and their increasingly vocal fans were in dreamland. Truro were a spent force and with time running out, Damon Robson almost added a fourth with a shot that flew across the face of goal and went just inches beyond the far post.
The final whistle sparked celebrations that went on for some time with the players joining the fans who had made the nine hour coach journey to the far end of the country.
WHITLEY BAY Burke, Taylor, Picton(Douglas 40mins), Rowe, Coulson, Dugdale, Moore(Livermore 85mins), Robson, Kerr, Chow, Robinson(Graham 73mins)