Bay play at Hillheads for first time in six weeks and walk away with all three points.
Report by Harry Salkeld
After what feels like an eternity, the Bay were finally back at Hillheads this Friday to play against Carlisle City. The Bay travelled to Penrith the previous Saturday and unfortunately lost 2-1, meaning Nick Gray was going to have to make a lot of much needed changes. Six changes were made to the side that lost last time out, Gilchrist was set for his second debut after re-joining the club, and James McGeorge made his first start for the club.
Before the game there was a perfect minutes’ of applause for Jennifer Breakwell, who unexpectedly but peacefully passed away on the 17th December. Jennifer and her late husband, Derek, dedicated many years of their lives towards the club and not only are they legends for the Bay but they are legends in the world of Northern League football. R.I.P Jennifer and Derek Breakwell.
Carlisle had the first shot of the game as it flew over the bar in the first thirty seconds. Minutes later, the Bay play some brilliant football, with the ball ultimately finding its way to Davison whose shot crept inches past the post. Jamie Holmes went on a charging run in the 5th minute but his shot went sailing over the bar.
In the 13th minute, the Bay played some wondrously fluid football culminating in a wicked and teasing cross from Jamie Holmes. A befuddled Keiron Olsen headed the ball with power and accuracy straight to the middle of his own goal. The home crowd was jubilant.
Minutes later, Elliott Day went on one of his signature runs which led to a deflected shot that was gratefully saved by Scott Simons. Whitley Bay continued to be the dominant force, it was all one way traffic.
Carlisle’s first attack since the beginning of the game came through a ball over the top but Marc Ellison put in a world-class block to deny any efforts at goal. The nature of this attack would become the go-to strategy for Carlisle as the long ball became their most pertinent weapon.
In the 37th minute, the Bay went on a counter-attack after a Carlisle corner. James McGeorge ran the length of the pitch, set up Ben Richardson for a shot but it went way over the bar. Minutes later, Daniel Kirkup who scored at Hillheads last season, had a headed effort rattle of the bar from his own teams corner.
The Bay went into the break, a deserved 1-0 up.
No real chances came in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, as the Bay controlled possession. The first chance of the second half came when Graeme Pickering pulled off a great save to deny Robert McCartney the equaliser, in the 62nd minute.
Jamie Holmes went on another rampaging run through a statuesque Carlisle backline. He finally pulled the trigger resulting in a shot that was brilliantly saved by Carlisle’s number 1. The game was starting to open up in the 65th minute as Davison had a shot that went straight down the throat of the opponent’s keeper.
In the 72nd minute, the Bay made their first change of the game as Josh Gilchrist came off for Jos Storr. Minutes later, McGeorge had an effort denied by Simons. In the 75th minute, the Bay made another change as Holmes came off for Finlay Neary.
Minutes later, Carlisle looked like they could equalise but Cartwright threw his body at the ball to deny any effort at goal. In the 83rd minute, McGeorge came off for Brewis.
Six minutes of additional time were to be played.
The opposition put one of their centre-backs, Kirkup, who had provided a dominant aerial guard in defence, up front. Clearly, they hoped that he could replicate his heading prowess up front as they pushed and pushed for the equaliser. After more long balls in to the box, the Bay defence held resolute and the equaliser never came. The Bay had won all three points in a hard fought win which required resilience and character towards the end.
A massive three points, which Nick Gray seemed very happy with when I interviewed him. Bring on Tuesday and HOWAY THE BAY.
WHITLEY BAY: Pickering, Cartwright, Day, Richardson, Hall, Almond, Gilchrist(Storr 72mins), Ellison, Davison, McGeorge(Brewis 83mins), Holmes(F.Neary 75mins)
Man of the match: Jamie Holmes. Presented by Chairman, Paul McIlduff
Referee: Lewis Hardy
Assistant Referees: Zak Logue and Robert Cowen