Crook comeback leaves Bay deflated


Saturday 24th February

Report by Julian Tyley 

Having looked by far the better side during the first 45 minutes, Whitley returned home from Crook empty handed after a below par second half display.

Lewis Suddick’s first half goal gave Liam McIvor’s team a well deserved lead but the home side drew level within three minutes of the restart and never looked back, getting the winner midway through the half.

Whitley made one change to the side that earned a draw at Heaton Stannington in midweek, Evan Wilkinson starting in place of the injured Andrew Cartwright.

Crook came into the game comfortably placed in mid table and unbeaten in their previous four league games.

On a bright and sunny afternoon, Whitley started the better of the two sides and with 10 minutes played, Josh Gilchrist’s attempt on goal went narrowly wide. The home side were being well contained by the Bay defence and rarely troubled Graeme Pickering in goal.

With 25 minutes played, Gilchrist played the ball across field to Lewis Suddick whose first time effort flew wide of the target.

Two minutes later Crook keeper Alex Curran dived full length to palm away a cross into the goalmouth by Gilchrist out on the left.

Whitley were getting on top now and when Gilchrist seized on an error just inside the Crook half, he raced away down the right, played the ball into the path of Fin Neary, whose shot was parried by Curran and Suddick slotted home the loose ball from inside the six yard box to give Whitley a 33rd minute lead.

Just four minutes later, the younger of the Neary brothers was once again played through on goal but this time his shot was blocked by the legs of the keeper.

The same player was in the thick of the action not long afterwards but this time he fired the ball just over the bar.

Whitley were pressing for a second goal which their dominance warranted and a minute before the interval Gilchrist saw his shot palmed wide. At the break, Whitley looked comfortably in control but with only a one goal lead to show for their efforts.

Whatever was said in the home dressing room during the interval appeared to liven up the hosts when play restarted and barely three minutes later, they found the equaliser, Marley heading home unchallenged when the ball was played into the six yard box from out on the right.

Crook looked a completely different side now, encouraged by the early goal, while Whitley struggled to get into their stride. The pressure was all coming from the Black and Ambers, so in an attempt to get his team back in the game, Liam McIvor made a double substitution on the hour, bringing on Jos Storr and debutant Marcello Benedetti in place of Suddick and McGeorge.

Benedetti showed pace down the right wing but the heavy pitch was not helping play on either wing.

In a move very similar that which produced the equaliser, Crook attacked down the right and a ball into the box was not properly dealt with and Gardiner got on the end of a cross and bundled it into the net.

When Whitley retaliated three minutes later, Paddy Almond headed over the bar from a right wing corner. Shortly afterwards, Cameron Brewis, returning from injury, replaced Evan Wilkinson in Whitley’s third substitution.

On a number of occasions, fouls were not penalised which resulted in frustration by players on both sides. Whitley struggled to find a way back into the game and their disappointing afternoon was summed up shortly before the final whistle when Elliott Day was sin-binned for his reaction to a decision by the referee.

In Wednesday’s game at Heaton Stannington, Whitley’s second half performance did not match that of the first, but on that occasion they performed well enough to claim a point. At Crook, the contrast between the two halves was much greater and in the end they could have few complaints about the outcome.

WHITLEY BAY: Pickering, Day, Wilkinson(Brewis 73mins) Ellison, almond, Hall, McGeorge (Storr 60mins), H Neary, Gilchrist, F Neary, Suddick (Benedetti 60mins)

Substitutes not used: Law, Lowery

Sin bin: Day

Referee: Thomas James

Scroll to top

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies as described in our Privacy Policy