Battling Bay end Guisborough’s unbeaten run



Saturday 9th March

Report by Harry Salkeld

After a huge and memorable win on Tuesday night, the Bay were back at Hillheads Park looking to end what would be an iconic week, in style. One change was made to the starting XI that crushed North Shields, Michael Hall was unavailable and in came Cameron Brewis. This change clearly signified a change in tactics as well as personnel. Finlay Neary, who played in midfield against Shields, was put in at right back for this game and Cartwright, who played right back midweek, was positioned at centre-back.  

Our opponents, Guisborough Town, came into this game in incredible form. They sat third in the league and unbeaten in 14 games. Taking all of this into consideration, it was clear that the Bay were going to have to be at their very best if they wanted to walk away with any sort of result.  

The Bay showed early signs of attacking intent as Almond’s high press led to a promising opportunity for the home side. He won the ball back in the opposition’s half, sprayed the ball out wide to Suddick who delivered a first time cross into the path of Cameron Brewis. Brewis, whose eyes lit up at the thought of a shot, elected to hit the ball first time, which turned out to be the wrong decision as he completely scuffed his shot, keeping the score at 0-0.  

The Bay’s fast start and hard work paid dividends in the 13th minute as they took the lead. It all came from a poor back pass from Joseph Pickett towards his goalkeeper that was instinctively and intuitively intercepted by Gilchrist. Our number 9, with ice flowing through his blue and white veins, slotted the ball round the keeper and into the bottom right corner.  

Minutes later and McGeorge had a shot that was fired over the bar after a ball was whipped in by Elliott Day. In the 20th minute, the opposition went a promising, fast-paced attack. A ball was played out wide to Pickett who then played a low driven ball into the Bay box that was unfortunately turned into the back off the net by Cartwright as he attempted to make a clearance, to put the score back at level terms. 

Guisborough started to control more of the ball after their equaliser and through balls over the top were clearly a significant part of their game plan. It was quite literally their only strategy when it came to attacking. In the 30th minute, the Bay had a chance as Cartwright swung in a free kick that was headed wide by Almond.  

In the 44th minute, a moment of football genius and brilliance by Marc Ellison gave the Bay a priceless chance at goal. He had the ball on the edge of the box, quickly sprayed it out wide to Suddick, then darted into the box and received the one-two from him. He then took the perfect touch leaving the defender no choice but to foul him! The referee then pointed to the spot, to the frustration of the opposition players. Up stepped Suddick to the spot and from 12 yards out, he slotted the ball into the right-hand side off the goal despite the keeper diving the right way. It was composure personified by our number 11 and it gave us the lead going into the break! 

The Bay came back out for the second half with their heads held high after what was a brilliant first half performance.  

No real chances were created in the first 10-12 minutes of the half as Guisborough continued to play balls over the top that honestly weren’t working at all. However, the first chance of the half did fall to the opposition as Mason McNeill had a shot that flashed wide off the far post. Minutes later and McNeill had another attempt, this time it was saved by Pickering for a corner. The corner was fizzed in with whip and pace to McNeill, but thankfully for the Bay his headed attempt was cleared off the line by Finlay Neary! It was one way traffic, and the Bay were under a lot of pressure. 

Despite, the Bay being under pressure and defending a lead, they continued to play their attractive and beautiful style of football. One touch, two touch, quick movement, it was what the crowd were savouring, and it was getting people off their seat. 

The opposition’s tactic of long balls continued to be ineffective, in fact it was become even less effective than it already was as most of their passes were collected by Pickering, without any Guisborough player getting on the end of it. 

In the 72nd minute, the Bay made their first change of the game as Jos Storr came on for Brewis. In the 83rd minute, Suddick had an opportunity to increase the Bay’s advantage as he went on a charging run, but his powerful shot was denied by Robert Dean.  

Not long to go, could the Bay hang on? Despite the Bay only being ahead by one, they continued to play aesthetically pleasing football and were trying to grow their advantage. You would have thought the Bay were the team losing 2-1!  

Three minutes of added time was indicated, one last push for the Bay! Guisborough were in control of possession looking for an opening but to the delight of most in Hillheads, they once again kicked it over the top and straight to Pickering, ending the game 2-1! 

It was a tale of two very contrasting styles of football and ultimately the beautiful game of one touch, movement and passing, prevailed. Guisborough’s tactic clearly works for them, and they have had a great season because of it but on the day, it didn’t work and wasn’t great to watch. Not only was it a win for the Bay but it felt like a win for football as well. 

‘Bay Fencing and Landscaping’ Man of the Match went to Graeme Pickering, presented by David Styles, for some great saves and his composure with the ball at his feet, apart from one mis-kick which thankfully didn’t lead to anything. I think everyone can agree that each Bay player was superb, particularly the defence who stood resolute against long ball after through ball after long ball, and they thoroughly deserved the three points. 

WHITLEY BAY: Pickering, F.Neary, Day, Ellison, Almond, Cartwright, McGeorge, H.Neary, Gilchrist(Law 90+2 mins), Brewis(Storr 72mins), Suddick 

Subs not used: Geliher and Charlton 

Attendance: 417 

Caution: Day 

Referee: Joel Tilmouth 

Assistant Referees: Owen Andre and Daniel Quinn 

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