CONSETT 1 WHITLEY BAY 1
Saturday 24th August
Whitley came away from Consett with a hard earned point after withstanding sustained pressure from the hosts during the second half of an entertaining contest.
On a very warm afternoon, quite out of character for the north west Durham town which stands at 900 feet above sea level, the stamina of the teams was tested to the limit and the game was stopped briefly in each half to allow players to take on water.
In one change to the side that defeated Ashington in midweek, Adam Shanks replaced the injured James Proctor. Consett included summer signing Andrei Ardelean, who was on loan at Hillheads last season and was Whitley’s joint top scorer.
In a fairly even opening period, Craig McFarlane had Whitley’s first attempt on goal but the ball drifted wide of the target. Two minutes later, Consett had the ball in the Bay net but Dale Pearson, their new signing from Blyth Spartans, saw his effort ruled out for offside. In the 18th minute, Luke Carr went close for the home side with a long range effort that just cleared the bar.
Just before the half hour and shortly after the first drinks break, James Martin broke down the left wing and cut the ball back across goal. Former Bay keeper Kyle Hayes tried to push the ball clear but it fell for Adam Shanks to slot home from four yards. It was the prolific striker’s first goal since returning to the club and it highlighted his ability of being in the right place at the right time.
Consett responded quickly and three minutes later it took a fine save from Dan Lister to keep out a shot from Matty Slocombe and push the ball behind. After Lister had blocked an effort from Calvin Smith, ex-Bay defender Ross Wilkinson slotted the ball home but once again the assistant had raised his flag for offside and the goal did not stand.
Just before the interval, another excellent run down the left by Martin nearly brought a second goal for Whitley but when he cut into the box, his shot from six yards hit the outside of the post when playing it across goal might have been a better option.
Early in the second half, Whitley made two substitutions, Shanks, not yet at full fitness, giving way to Nathan Stephenson, while an injury to James Martin forced a change in formation with Sam Dinsley taking his place. Stephenson was soon in the action with a free kick flying inches wide of the post. However, most of the play was at the other end as Consett pressed forward in search of an equaliser. Lister, who was having an excellent game, pushed a goalbound effort from Smith round the post. Tom Graham then cleared a shot from Carr off the line before Lister blocked another attempt from Wilkinson. In a rare break to the other end, McFarlane got in a shot that was saved by Hayes.
Consett finally got the reward for their pressure in the 74th minute when Holden’s shot crashed off the post and Smith fired home the rebound. The second drinks break soon followed and for the remainder of the game Consett strove for a winner but resolute and disciplined defending by Whitley back line kept them out. Lee Kerr, who had replaced Brad Hird, broke forward in counter attacks and stung the hands of Hayes with one powerful effort but it was Lister and the Bay defence who earned the plaudits of both sets of fans as they ensured the game ended with the points shared.
WHITLEY BAY: Lister, Bexton, Salmon, Bott, Anderson, Graham, McFarlane, Orrell, Hird(Kerr 74mins), Shanks(Stephenson 51mins), Martin(Dinsley 53mins)
Substitutes not used: Ramsey, Taylor
Referee: Glen Hart