WHITLEY BAY 2 NORTHALLERTON TOWN 1
Saturday 11th November
By Harry Salkeld
After suffering a disappointing result last time out, the lads were back at Hillheads looking to get back to winning ways. Four changes were made to the team that lost in the FA Vase. Richardson, Storr and Brewis all stamped their names on the team sheet and so did new signing, Patrick Almond. Another new signing, Jamie Holmes, started the game on the bench. Our opponents, Northallerton Town, came into this game having won two out of their last three league games.
Before the match started, there was a perfect two-minute silence for those who fought and gave their lives in conflict. We will remember them.
The Bay started the game by passing the ball around, looking to conjure an opportunity at goal. The opening came early when the Bay won a corner after some tremendous play down the right-hand side. The corner was whipped into Mark Davison whose bullet header put the Bay 1-0 up inside 4 minutes.
Minutes later Cameron Brewis had a shot that went wide but the Bay’s dominance and confidence was clearly growing.
Unfortunately, Bailey Geliher came off injured for Lewis Suddick. Bailey has suffered from a lot of injuries recently, so fingers crossed his latest one isn’t too severe.
In the 24th minute, a horrible mistake from the Northallerton keeper nearly gifted Davison an open goal after he sliced his clearance, but a Northallerton defender saved his keeper from humiliation. Then in the 30th minute, Elliott Day’s header missed the target at the back post.
Minutes later and the Bay’s injury crisis in attack continued as Marc Ellison came off with a hamstring injury for Josh Gilchrist. Straight after the change, controversy struck as the ball seemed to have hit the hand of a Northallerton defender, but the referee played on. There were some very unhappy people inside of Hillheads, one of which said, “He is playing volleyball!”
Then it looked like the Bay were going to have to take Ben Richardson off due to injury. Thankfully, treatment from the physio meant he could play on and save Nick Gray some head scratching.
The Bay were dominating the ball, patiently passing it around and frustrating their opponents. The Bay’s patience paid dividends in the dying minutes of the first half when Mark Davison played a delectable through ball into Jos Storr who, with ice in his veins, dribbled around the keeper and doubled the Bay’s advantage.
In the 4th minute of stoppage time, Elliott Day went on a charging run, but his shot was sent straight down the throat of the away side’s keeper. Seconds later, the referee blew his whistle sending the Bay into the break 2-0 up. It was a superb first half performance from the Bay and their lead was well deserved.
The first chance of the second half fell to substitute, Lewis Suddick, but his shot was saved at the near post by Ben Fairless. The Bay continued to dominate the proceedings and their opponents hadn’t had a shot on target. Not yet anyway…
In the 62nd minute, Alistair Banks was one-on-one with Pickering who saved his first attempt, but Banks then scored the rebound. It was Banks first goal for the club, and it was a goal that would change the dynamic of the game.
The Bay were looking to regain their two-goal advantage and it nearly came to fruition when Neary whipped in a cross which was headed wide by Suddick. The Bay made their third change of the game when Jos Storr came off for new signing, Jamie Holmes.
In the 77th minute, Elliott Day had a shot that rattled into the side netting and in the 81st minute, Brewis came off for Eddie Thomas. Despite Northallerton trying to chase down an equaliser, the Bay continued to dominate possession and control the game. The board was held up and it said six minutes of added time.
In the 2nd minute of stoppage time, confusion reigned, as Ben Richardson was shown a yellow card and was sin binned meaning the Bay would have to play the rest of the game with just 10 men. Mark Davison then made way for Scott Lowery.
The last attack of the game and it was Northallerton on the ball. A ball was played out to Dunlavey whose first touch set him up for an effort at goal. He pulled the trigger and the ball, slowly but surely moved towards goal, and marginally missed the target to the frustration of the vocal Northallerton fans behind the goal.
Seconds later and the whistle was blown for full time sending Hillheads into a rapture of applause. It was a thoroughly deserved three points, the lads dominated the entire game and created many chances. All showed great character and resilience at the end to hang onto their slim advantage
At the end of the match, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick Gray for the Bay Watch TV YouTube channel. Nick was delighted with the lad’s performance especially in the early stages, “I thought today they came out really on the front foot,” explained Nick, “They looked hungry.”
It was clear how happy Nick was with the result, “We got three points and we won and for me that’s the most important,” Nick then explained how much this win meant to him, the lads and the club, especially after a disappointing result last time out, “And I am really happy for the group and for the club because it makes you get over defeats a little bit quicker.”
Man of the match went to Mark Davison and Nick was very happy with his performance, “We’ve spoke about him, there’s no point in playing Mark Davison if we’re not going to use him to his strengths and I thought today we had better runs off him,” Nick then explained how happy he is for Davison and the rest of the players, “I am delighted for him but I’m delighted for the whole group because today it was a collective win.”
Great performance, great result and HOWAY THE BAY!
WHITLEY BAY: Pickering, Neary, Day, Turnbull, Almond, Richardson, Geliher (Suddick 22mins), Ellison (Gilchrist 36mins), Davison (Lowery 90+3 mins), Brewis (Thomas 81mins), Storr(Holmes 67mins)
Man of the Match: Mark Davison
Referee: Geoff Mann
Assistant Referees: Dave Prince and Scott Tate
Cautions: Almond, Day, Pickering, and Richardson (sin binned)