WHITLEY BAY 0 NORTHALLERTON TOWN 3
Saturday 1st April
Bu Harry Salkeld
Bay’s winning home run comes to a shuddering halt as two players and manager see red.
After a great result on Tuesday night, the Bay were back at Hillheads Park looking for their third home win within the space of a week.
Nick Gray made two changes to the side that beat Sunderland RCA midweek. New signing, Ryan Barrett, replaced Adam Hutchinson after he suffered an injury in the dying minutes of the game on Tuesday. Ben Richardson was brought back into the starting eleven, he replaced Stephen Turnbull. Malcolm Morien and Elliott Day were brought back into the match day squad as they started on the bench.
Northallerton came into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Penrith at Calvert’s Stadium. Northallerton had two new signings in their match day squad. Charlie Watt, who signed for them three days ago, was named in their starting eleven. Keaton Sturdy, who signed from Billingham Town a day ago, started on the bench for the visitors.
The Bay started the game by keeping possession of the ball but the visitors were making it very difficult for them as they were pressing the Bay players with a tenacious desire.
The away sides hunger to win the ball back paid dividends in the 4th minute when they won a corner after a great counterattack. The corner was swung into the box and cleared only as far as Steven Roberts, who calmly took the ball under his control. He then had a shot which took an unfortunate deflection off Charlie Graham, which gave Dan Lister no chance of saving the effort.
Adam Burnicle was giving Michael Hall a tough afternoon in defence. He was persistently using his pace to run onto the end of through balls, to create great opportunities.
In the 17th minute, the Bay had their first shot of the game. Harvey Neary’s long range effort was agonisingly sent over the bar.
In the 20th minute, the visitors doubled their advantage after a great ball was played into Charlie Watt who drove at Dan Lister with pace. He was denied by Dan Lister in the one on one but followed up the rebound. Dan Lister was understandably fuming with his defence as they did not defend the rebound giving Watt an easy finish.
The away side continued their high press of the Bay backline when Dan Lister saved Roberts shot in the 24th minute. The only respite for the Bay involved some fruitful play down the left flank but Sean Chidanyika was making life really difficult for Noah Millington and Luke Porritt to take any serious advantage.
The Bay were looking lethargic in comparison to their usual standards. Their lack of creativity and inability to break down the stubborn Northallerton defence afforded the visitors numerous attacking opportunities.
Despite the frustrating start to the game, Mark Davison and Luke Porritt’s work rate off the ball had been superb. They were closing the Northallerton defence down with pace and trying to get the Bay back into the contest.
The Bay were outnumbered in the middle of the park which was giving the visitors an abundance of space to create goal-scoring opportunities. Whenever the Bay were playing a ball into a forward, there always appeared two defenders picking up that player to win the ball back. As such, the Bay had no time to create chances.
After a frustrating half, the Bay went into the break 2-0 down.
After the interval, the away side continued the second half in the same vein as they played the first. Dan Lister was tested by David Parker, in the first minute of the second half, but he stopped the shot going into the back of the net.
Things went from bad to worse for the Bay in the 49th minute after Noah Millington committed a foul on the Northallerton forward inside the penalty area. Adam Burnicle stepped up to take the penalty and he slotted the ball into the bottom left corner despite Lister diving the correct way.
In the 53rd minute, Nick Gray made four substitutions. Ryan Barrett was replaced by Elliott Day, Ben Richardson was replaced by Josh Gilchrist, Jackson Ward was replaced by Malcolm Morien and Noah Millington made way for Stephen Turnbull.
Bailey Geliher had a shot blocked by the keeper after great build up play by Harvey Neary down the right flank. Geliher had another shot, this time it was deflected wide for a corner.
On the hour mark, four minutes of madness began. Stephen Turnbull and Steven Roberts were booked for either side. In between play their argument continued, leading to Turnbull receiving a second yellow card. There was no further punishment for Roberts.
Minutes later Nicky Gray was sent to the stands after vehement protestations to the referee and away team dugout. The game was getting out of control due to the referee not getting a grip of the situation. In the 64th minute it became even worse for the Bay when Bailey Geliher was sent off for a tackle on Luke Hogan.
The game was spiralling away from the Bay and accentuating the 3-0 deficit. Stephen Turnbull, Bailey Geliher and Nick Gray had all seen red within the space of four minutes!
The Bay were continuing took look for their first goal of the afternoon but Northallerton players were fouling the Bay and escaping punishment. Stephen Jackson pushed Elliott Day to the ground and received no card. Luke Porritt was then fouled by Luke Hogan but received no yellow card once again. With minutes left on the clock, Malcolm Morien had a shot from the halfway line but it sailed out for a goal kick.
There was no added time played, the referee blew his whistle to end the game 3-0 to the visitors.
It was a poor Whitley performance and the controversial second half made matters worse. It was definitely a day to forget and move on from. Promotion is still a mathematical possibility for the Bay but this was a major setback losing our manager and two key players for future fixtures.
WHITLEY BAY: Lister, Barrett(Day 53mins), Porritt, Richardson(Gilchrist 53mins), Hall, Lowery, Ward(Morien 53mins), Neary, Geliher, Davison, Millington(Turnbull 53mins)
Cautions: Turnbull (Two yellow cards), Geliher(Red Card)
Referee: Matthew Davidson
Assistant Referees: Matthew Spicer and Rachel Martin