An afternoon to forget for Whitley


Saturday 23rd March

Report by Julian Tyley

A disastrous thirty minute spell midway through the game cost Whitley the points on their first ever League visit to Birtley, whose pursuit of a play-off place was strengthened by this result.

All six goals came between the 37th and 67th minutes with the majority resulting from defensive errors.

Captain Michael Hall returned to the starting eleven in place of the injured Lewis Ritson while Cameron Brewis started in place of Lewis Suddick.

There was little early action in either goalmouth but Whitley went close in the ninth minute when Brewis saw his shot take a deflection off defender Callum Turnbull and Gordon managed to get his fingers to the ball to push it wide.

Birtley responded four minutes later with Heslop firing a shot over the bar.

Play was largely confined to midfield but Elliott Day made a couple of good runs down the left wing, the second being cut short by a cynical foul which earned Pentland a caution on the half hour.

There was no sign of either team gaining the upper hand but that suddenly changed when the home side scored twice in as many minutes.

A slip by Andrew Cartwright on the Bay right allowed Matthew Ward to take possession and when he crossed to the right of the box, former Bay winger James Proctor had a simple tap in to put Birtley ahead with 37 minutes played.

Cartwright had picked up an injury and was unable to continue and was replaced by Lewis Suddick. Barely two minutes later it got even worse for Whitley when they conceded possession on the left edge of their box and Ward was played through and rounded Pickering before slotting the ball home to double the lead.

Moments before half time, Pickering raced off his line to intercept the ball but appeared to misjudge it and caught Ward instead of the ball, bringing him down just outside the box. Fortunately for the keeper, there were other players behind the ball so he was not deemed last man and received a yellow rather than a red card. The resulting free kick was struck high over the bar but with a two goal lead at the interval, Birtley had grabbed control of the game while Whitley now looked to be struggling.

Things went from bad to worse for the Bay five minutes after the restart when a left wing corner from Wotherspoon appeared to curl straight into the net although Ward may just have got a touch.

Confusion in the defence then appeared at the other end and to Whitley’s relief, Josh Gilchrist was on hand to capitalise and slot home the ball to reduce the arrears.

Any glimmer of hope that there might be dramatic comeback was quickly snuffed out when a ball over the top was seized on by Ward who advanced before easily beating Pickering to restore the three goal advantage for the Hoops.

A multiple substitution took place just after the hour as Whitley sought to stem the flow of the game, among those coming on being Scott Lowery, who has been out of the side with injury since early February.

Midway through the half, Birtley scored their fifth, a near replica of their third goal when Wotherspoon’s corner deceived Pickering and flew straight into the net.

The final quarter of the game saw Birtley comfortably in control but apart from one effort that was cleared almost off the line, there was little further threat to the Bay goal.

Birtley did a good job restricting Bailey Geliher’s influence on the game but from a Bay perspective it was pleasing to see the youngster get through a full ninety minutes in a season where he has struggled to recover from a serious injury picked up in a pre-season game back in July.

There was little else for Bay fans to enthuse over on an afternoon they will want to forget.

WHITLEY BAY: Pickering, Cartwright(Suddick 37mins), Day, Ellison, Almond, Hall ( Lowery 62mins), Geliher, H Neary, Gilchrist (Benedetti 62mins), F Neary (Law 68mins), Brewis ( Storr 62mins)

Caution: Pickering

Referee: Nick Vincent

Attendance: 406

Scroll to top

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies as described in our Privacy Policy