Bay complete pre-season with victory

Whitley completed their pre-season programme with a 2-0 victory over Birtley Town, both goals coming during the first half.

After five games away from home against higher ranked opponents, this was the first chance for home fans to see Nick Gray's rebuilt squad in action and after a slow opening period, they controlled the game against the Second Division side and might have won by a bigger margin.

Early in the game Birtley's Callum Smith struck a shot against the Whitley bar after combining with striker Aidan Rutledge, who had a short spell at Hillheads last season. Whitley gradually came more into the game as the half progressed and with 23 minutes played, Harvey Neary tested Connor Grant but the former Ashington keeper made a fine save.

Whitley took the lead five minutes later when Lewis Orrell burst through and from just inside the box drilled a powerful shot beyond Grant.

A young Whitley trialist operating down the right wing was testing the visitors and it took a timely challenge from ex Bay defender Ryan Keltie to deny him a chance on goal. Whitley were now in the ascendency  and it was not long before they doubled their lead. Elliott Day who had come off the bench a few minutes earlier produced an excellent finish from the edge of the box just beating the dive of Grant as the ball clipped the inside of the post on its way into the net.

Into the second half there were various substitutions by both sides with limited attempts on goal. The visitors looked certain to score just past the hour but inside the six yard box and with an open goal, substitute Morland somehow managed to put the ball out of the ground. At the other end a great volley from Malcolm Morien drew applause as it was deflected just beyond the far post.

Into the final ten minutes Jackson Ward was played clear on goal but put his shot narrowly wide of the target and there was another opportunity for Whitley shortly before the final whistle but Birtley's substitute keeper made a good save to prevent a third goal.

Bay starting eleven: Lister, Irons, Porritt, Turnbull, Hall, Hutchinson, Orrell, Neary, Morien, Ward, Trialist

Substitutes included Richardson, Day and trialists.


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