Saturday 18th February 2023
Ebac Northern League Division One
Whitley Bay 1-3 Guisborough Town
By Peter Fox
Whitley slipped to their second 3-1 reverse of the week after going down to Guisborough at Hillheads on a pitch that became trickier as the game went on thanks to the wet conditions that swept in just before kick-off.
After the defeat at Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday night there were two changes to the starting eleven. Michael Hall was injured and Malcolm Morien stepped down to the bench to be replaced by Josh Gilchrist and
recent signing from RCA Mark Davison made his first start for the club having been a substitute at Newton Aycliffe. Whitley had new signing Scott Young on the bench who had previously had a spell with Seaham Red Star.
It quickly became apparent that Guisborough’s lively front two of Michael McGee and Cole Kiernan were going to be handful and after only two minutes Kiernan fed McGee who fired in a low shot that Pat Nash had to get down quickly to save. A couple of minutes the roles were reversed and Kiernan forced Nash into another low save as the visitors started strongly. They had another chance as Shaaban Mohammed shot wide when he should have at least got his shot on target. Little was being seen of Whitley as an attacking force in the opening quarter of an hour, and it wasn’t until around the 20 minute mark that Stephen Turnbull fizzed in a long range effort that went narrowly wide.
Bay started to come into the game a bit more after this and Mark Davison headed an effort straight at the keeper from a free kick before Gilchrist fed Neary and he got in a shot that was well saved by Will Cowey in the Guisborough goal and then hacked away off the line to safety.
Nash was soon back in action at the other end saving from Jack Blackford and then Mohammed fired over after a few challenges back and forward on the edge of the Bay box.
The goal Guisborough had been threatening came after 35 minutes when Blackford put in a beautiful curling cross for McGee to glance a header past the despairing dive of Nash.
Bay tried to hit back and Bailey Geliher forced Cowey into fine save, conceding a corner which the keeper then held comfortably. Nash was forced into another save to deny Blackford right on half time and the
away side deservedly led at half time.
If Bay fans were hoping for a rapid improvement they were to be disappointed as Kiernan forced Nash into another fine save after six minutes of the second half. However Kiernan was not to be denied and just before the hour mark he picked up the ball after team- mate Liam Miller had won a header in midfield, danced through the Bay defence and produced a cool finish to clip the ball past Nash. It was nearly worse moments later as McGee again turned provider for Kiernan who lobbed the ball just over the bar.
Turnbull forced Cowey into a decent save with a free kick that beat the wall and the keeper did well to hold it in the increasingly slippery conditions. Kiernan was sin-binned for Guisborough after 72 minutes for comments made to the referee after he was fouled.
With 85 minutes gone Whitley were handed a chance to get back into the game when substitute Jackson Ward was brought down by Miller in the penalty area. The Guisborough man was sent off but fellow Bay substitute Morien blasted the penalty against the post and the ball was cleared by the Guisborough defence, which sort of summed up the way the afternoon was going for the home side. Morien came close twice more, Cowey saving at his feet, then shooting wide from a good position and he had certainly looked lively after coming on.
Bay did pull a goal back in stoppage time when Morien got on the end of a cross to convert a header at the far post. Was this going to set up a grandstand finish? No, sadly not, because pretty much straight from the restart Guisborough sub Joe Bartliff played in McGee who finished emphatically past Nash to seal the points for the visitors.
Whitley next travel to West Auckland on Friday night with a 7-30 kick off.
Whitley Bay: Nash, Patterson (Young 66), Porritt, Turnbull, Lowery, Hutchinson, Geliher (Morien 66), Richardson (Millington 66), Davison, Neary, Gilchrist (Ward 81)