WHITLEY BAY 2 NEWCASTLE BENFIELD 0
Saturday 11th March
By Harry Salkeld
Whitley Bay bounce back after away defeat by winning all three points in a hard-fought battle against a tough Newcastle Benfield side.
After what was a highly entertaining encounter between these two sides at the beginning of the season, this game had all the ingredients of being an enthralling confrontation.
Before the game, in loving memory of Derek Breakwell, Jennifer Breakwell was presented with a Whitley Bay shirt signed by all the players and coaching staff. In the centre of the shirt was a heart with Derek’s initials, D.B, on it.
The Bay started the game with great attacking intent. The first shot off the game came when Josh Gilchrist did really well to get past the Benfield defender, he then took a shot from distance but the keeper calmly collected the ball.
The Bay continued to apply pressure to the Benfield defence, this time seeing Elliott Day drive down the left flank with the ball at his feet. He then whipped in a low driven cross into the heart of the box but Grainger was there to parry it away to the feet of Mark Davison. Davison calmly took the ball under control, but his effort was blocked by Reece Noble.
Despite the ball not hitting the back of the net, Whitley Bay’s early pressure had been magnificent.
In the 10th minute the Bay had a free-kick in a similar position to where Stephen Turnbull scored against Crook Town. However, it was Josh Gilchrist who was standing over the ball to take the set-piece. He whipped the free-kick into the bottom left corner but Grainger was there to pull of an amazing save.
In the 13th minute the Bay deservedly took the lead. Ben Richardson received the ball in the centre of the field, he then played a stunning ball over the Benfield defence to Elliott Day, who calmly headed home giving Grainger no chance.
After the opening goal, Benfield started to apply pressure on the Bay defence, adopting Whitley Bay’s tactic of possession football. Off the ball, Benfield were closing down the Bay players really well giving them no time on the ball.
Mark Davison, who had started the game brilliantly in attack, was doing really well at closing down the Benfield defence when they were in possession of the ball.
Harvey Neary created the Bay’s first big chance since the goal. He drove down the right-wing getting past Callum Guy, to then play a pass into the feet of Josh Gilchrist. Gilchrist took a touch with his right foot but then his effort at goal was dragged wide of the post.
Josh Gilchrist’s effort was the only chance since Whitley Bay’s opener, most of the game was being played in the centre of the pitch.
Before the half-time break, there was a clash of heads between Joe Robson and Lewis Leech. After the two players had been evaluated by the medical team, the whistle was blown for half-time.
After the interval, Benfield made the first substitution of the game. Captain, Joe Robson, was taken off after a clash of heads at the end of the half. Conor Walker came on to replace him.
Newcastle Benfield creating the first chance of the half. Reece Noble played a ball over the Bay defence to Paul Brayson, but his effort was off target. Questions were being asked by the Bay defenders to the Lines-person since they thought she should have raised her flag.
Minutes later, there was a scramble for the ball in the Whitley Bay box. The Benfield substitute, Conor Walker, had his effort at goal tipped over the bar by Dan Lister. It was clear that Benfield wanted the equaliser.
Grainger pulled off another great save to keep his team in the game, he denied Ben Richardson’s efforts at the near post.
In the 61st minute substitutions were made by both sides. Ryan McGorrigan replaced ex-Whitley Bay player Michael Colquhoun. Goal scorer, Elliott Day made way for Cameron Brewis. Ten minutes later, Layton Watts replaced Kyle Errington for the visitors.
Benfield had another great chance to get on level terms. It was the substitutes, Watts and McGorrigan, who linked up to create the opportunity. McGorrigan’s attempted shot ended up finding the feet of Watts, Watts then took a shot which Dan Lister saved to keep the Bay’s advantage. It was fantastic goalkeeping to send the crowd into raptures.
In the 74th minute, Josh Gilchrist and Ben Richardson made way for Noah Millington and Scott Lowery.
The best chance of the half for the Bay came when Davison played a one-two with Geliher, who sent Davison through one on one with Grainger. However, Grainger did extremely well to save Davison’s effort at goal to keep the score at 1-0 to the hosts.
It looked like Bailey Geliher was going to extend the Bay’s advantage when he dribbled past the goalkeeper but a Benfield body was thrown at goal to keep his effort out.
In the 80th minute, the Bay deservedly extended their advantage when Scott Lowery swung in a great cross which Mark Davison got on the end of, with a strong header. Davison gave the keeper no chance since his header was tucked precisely into the top right corner.
Cameron Gascoigne came off for Joel Green in the 81st minute.
The full-time whistle was accompanied by rapturous applause, from the Bay fans.
It was a win that was much needed and the lads delivered in style. Stephen Turnbull was presented the Man of the Match award by Darren Gibson.
WHITLEY BAY: Lister, Neary, Hutchinson, Hall, Day(Brewis 61mins), Richardson(Lowery 74mins), Turnbull, Geliher, Porrit, Gilchrist(Millington 74mins)
Referee: Charlie Ford
Assistant Referees: Francis Malton and Lynn Brown