GUISBOROUGH TOWN 2 WHITLEY BAY 0
Saturday 14th October
This was a thoroughly disappointing performance by Whitley on an afternoon when they rarely looked like scoring and never recovered from conceding twice in a ten minute spell during the first half.
Scott Lowery returned to the starting eleven following injury and replaced the suspended Andrew Cartwright in an otherwise unchanged side from that which narrowly defeated Crook Town seven days earlier.
On a sunny but cold autumn afternoon at Guisborough’s King George V Stadium, Whitley opted to play down the slope in the first half but failed to capitalise on any advantage that might have given them.
The hosts started more strongly and in the sixth minute went close to taking an early lead when a quickly taken free kick crashed off the post and away from goal.
Four minutes later Elliott Day raced in at the back post for Whitley but his header was narrowly off target.
Back at the other end, Town shrugged off challenges on the right of the Bay box and it needed a goal line clearance by captain Michael Hall to avert the danger and put the ball behind for a corner.
With 25 minutes played, Whitley briefly threatened and forced a corner on the left but then conceded a goal in calamitous circumstances. Rather than crossing the ball into the goalmouth, they chose to play it short and almost immediately lost possession. Guisborough quickly hit the ball upfield, capitalising on space in the Bay defence with players having pushed forward for the corner. Bond came off his line attempting to win the ball but Howes knocked it past him and had the simple task of slotting it into an empty net to put the Priorymen ahead.
On the half hour, Josh Gilchrist tested Robert Dean with a strong shot but the vastly experience Town keeper saved comfortably.
It was the home side who continued to pose the greater threat and with 36 minutes gone, a teasing cross from near the right by-line into the goalmouth was inadvertently put into his own net by Lowery as he attempted to clear the ball.
Two goals behind, Whitley really needed a response before the interval and they pressed forward, with Jos Storr getting a shot on target which brought a save from Dean then just before the break, Lowery, stretching to reach the ball, volleyed it high over the bar after a left wing corner had been partly cleared but was then played deep towards the back post.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first with Guisborough looking quicker and more determined. On the hour, Whitley made a triple substitution and it briefly improved their play, with Luke Page, returning to the squad following the birth of his child, bursting forward from midfield and his pass to Day gave Whitley a chance but Dean blocked the shot. Day tested the keeper again with a second attempt on target but those moments apart, Whitley did not look like troubling the home defence.
Guisborough seemed content to hold on to their lead and Bond was rarely called into action.
In the final minute of the 90, Ben Richardson’s free kick from just outside the box was held at the second attempt by Dean and that was the final goalmouth action of the afternoon.
WHITLEY BAY; Bond, Neary, Day, Turnbull, Hall, Lowery, Gilchrist(Page 59mins), Ellison(Richardson 59mins), Thomas(Davison 59mins), Brewis (Wilkinson 78mins), Storr
Cautions: Day, Thomas
Referee: Michael Moore