ISUZU FA VASE 1st ROUND
WHITLEY BAY 0 BOTTESFORD TOWN 0
(2-4 on penalties)
For the second successive season, Whitley’s FA Vase hopes ended in the heartache of a penalty shoot out defeat. A disappointing performance against their Scunthorpe based opponents resulted in the game ending goal less after 90 minutes and it was the visitors who went through to the next round after a faultless series of penalties while Whitley failed to convert two of their attempts.
Persistent heavy rain had forced the postponement of the tie seven days earlier but despite further bad weather during the week, credit is due to the ground staff for producing a pitch which was perfectly playable on a day when numerous other fixtures were called off.
18 year old Bailey Geliher came into the side for his first game in more than three months after recovering from a bad injury suffered in a pre-season fixture. Meanwhile, with Harrison Bond ineligible and Dan Lister recently having moved to Whickham, new signing Graeme Pickering made his debut in goal.
The visitors looked the livelier side in the opening stages and after Whitley lost possession inside their own box, Pickering made a fine diving save to push the ball round the post with less than ten minutes played.
A cross-cum shot from the right by Harvey Neary almost caught Bottesford out when the ball clipped the top of the bar. There was a near miss at the other end when a shot from the left crashed off the post and rebounded away from goal.
With 27 minutes played, a free kick near the left corner flag was played across goal by Stephen Turnbull but was then skied over the bar.
Just past the half hour Luke Page burst through and his strong shot went inches over the bar.
Far too often, Whitley were conceding possession and their play lacked fluency while the visitors showed greater desire and attacking intent.
They had a narrow escape after 38 minutes when Elliott Day’s back pass was hit against the onrushing Eccles by Pickering, who chased the loose ball along the touch line towards the corner flag and was penalised for bringing down the Bottesford man.
Whitley’s best chance of the half came with just three minutes remaining when Day sent in a perfect cross from the left edge of the box but with the goal at his mercy, Mark Davison got his foot underneath the ball and blazed it high over the bar.
Almost immediately after the interval, Lewis Suddick broke forward and fired in a shot from just outside the box that was heading for the top corner but Quibell made the save.
Looking more lively than in the first half, Whitley attacked again shortly after and Marc Ellison crossed from the left but Quibell claimed the ball just ahead of Geliher who was waiting to pounce.
Still there were too many instances of passes going astray and Bottesford were quick to close players down and deny them time on the ball.
Pickering made a comfortable save from a long range free kick before Whitley made a double substitution with Gilchrist and Storr introduced in place of Geliher and Page.
Whitley pushed forward with more determination in the final 20 minutes and forced Bottesford back where they defended effectively, denying Whitley any clear goalscoring opportunities until the final stages. With less than two minutes of the 90 remaining, Turnbull’s free kick to the back post was met by a header from Scott Lowery which was flicked on by Davison and crashed off the post.
With the game about to enter five minutes of stoppage time, a cross from the left was played back into the box by substitute Cameron Brewis but Davison drove the ball over the bar. Then Storr drilled the ball across the six yard box with no one able to apply the finishing touch.
The pressure was too little and too late and with the final whistle blown, the game went to penalties.
Stephen Turnbull was first up but his spot kick crashed off the underside of the bar and down onto the line. Griffin scored for Bottesford to give them the advantage but Lewis Suddick levelled for Whitley. Bottesford then scored their second thanks to Eccles and when Cameron Brewis saw his attempt saved, the writing was on the wall for Whitley. Another successful kick by the visitors, this time from Fawcett, made it 3-1 and after Jos Storr scored for Whitley, Attree secured victory for Bottesford.
It was a desperately disappointing conclusion to a game when Whitley never performed anywhere near their best.
WHITLEY BAY: Pickering, Neary, Day, Turnbull, Hall (Brewis 59mins) Lowery, Geliher(Gilchrist 78mins) Ellison, Davison, Page(Storr 78mins), Suddick
Substitutes not used: Richardson, Millington, Wilkinson, Charlton
Referee: Matt Harris
Cautions: Pickering, Hall, Ellison
Match sponsors: Absolute Asbestos Surveys
Matchball sponsors: Sandy Supporters Group