Good Friday was certainly a good day for Whitley Bay as they beat local rivals and title challengers Ashington 1-0 in front of their biggest crowd of the season. Not surprisingly, manager Nick Gray was delighted with his team’s performance, summing it up as “A great result and a good week. We’ve kept two clean sheets. I think it shows what they can do when they put their minds to it. Credit to the squad, we’re really down on numbers and resources. If you look at last weekend’s game I was disappointed with that but what we did last week and what we did today is chalk and cheese. It shows what we can do. We’ve just got to work on more consistency. The lads, what they’ve given this week, this season, 95% has been fantastic. I think when we’ve had big crowds, I said to the lads before the game, we’ve let ourselves down a bit but today we can be proud. We got our noses in front; we could maybe have had better quality in the final third. Second half I thought we could have extended the lead. They were always going to get chances, they had to take risks and they’ve had a couple of penalty calls. I couldn’t see from where I was but I thought one of them could have been given but he didn’t. All the lads have got to take the plaudits today
We got in some good areas first half the only crosses we got in the first half with any purpose was Turnbull’s and then Ben’s. It was a great leap by Elliott, how he did that with a tight hamstring I do not know! It’s a good end to the week. It’s been a tough week personally for me.
The goal opened up the game we both had opportunities. I thought Dan Lister’s handling was good today. His distribution was good. The game opened up, they had to take chances and risks and it helped us a little bit, and for me I thought we were slightly more likely to get a second goal. For all their possession I think they had a couple of shots, but they went high and wide I thought in the second half we could have been a bit more clinical in the final third and better decisions with the final ball we might have got a second but we’ve beaten a good side today who are up at the top. We know why they’re at the top because they’ve got a very good squad, very good players. They’re well organised and well drilled and we’ve done the double over them so we’ve got to be pleased with that.”
When Ashington pushed forward, the Bay defence held firm, their attitude typified by Michael Hall, who came in for praise from his manager. “Michael Hall has been terrific all season as a leader and captain, as a winner. Scott Lowery with another tight hamstring has had a good game as well. I could go through them all to be fair, the lads who came on as well, they all played their part today. It’s a great three points.
“We’ve got two games left. We’re obviously missing a couple next week. I do think the best player on the pitch today was the youngest player – Bailey Geliher. I thought he was outstanding. He covered every blade of grass. He very rarely gave the ball away and that was probably because he worked that hard but I thought he was outstanding today. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. On a personal thought, I hope he goes to a much higher level. He’s finished his season with that performance which was fantastic.
“It’s been a tough personal week with things at home but you keep on going and results like today really help your mindset. We’ve two games, left next week we’ve got Heaton Stannington. When we played at their place I would say we were fortunate to get three points but that just shows the never say die attitude with the lads. It’s the last home game of the season and we want to put on a show for the supporters who’ve been very loyal and supported us the whole season, the whole group.
“We want to try and get as many points as we can. I think we’ve already got 30 points more than we had last year. We’re going the right way. I always have a down to earth attitude, there’s always more work to do, I’m never satisfied but today’s a good day for Whitley Bay.”