WHITLEY BAY 3 TOW LAW TOWN 1
Saturday 25th March
Report by Harry Salkeld
After crashing out of the Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final to Morpeth Town on Tuesday, the Bay got back to winning ways against Tow Law Town. The Bay made one change from their defeat on Tuesday. Elliott Day, who had picked up an injury in his last game, was replaced by Bailey Geliher. Ex-Whitley Bay player, Andrei Ardelean, featured up-front for the away side.
The first few minutes of the game were controlled by Tow Law, as they hoped possession football would stave off any threat. However, the Bay proved more clinical in the early stages when they opened the scoring in the 6th minute. The goal came when Ben Richardson played a ball out wide to Harvey Neary who floated in a beautiful ball which was greeted gleefully by the head of Mark Davison. Davison did really well to use his aerial and physical presence to give the defender no chance of getting on the end of Neary’s cross.
After the goal, the Bay started to take control and were enjoying possession football themselves. Davison was doing a really good job of harrying the Tow Law defenders on the occasions that they were retaining the ball. He was winning the ball back and starting attacks really well, turning the ball over and further emphasising the possession stats in the Bay’s favour. Minutes later, the away side showed they could be a threat on the counterattack. Gilchrist was dispossessed in the centre of the pitch which allowed Thomas Hizzett a counterattacking opportunity. He drove down the right wing with pace, and then attempted to play a pass to Ardelean, but it was brilliantly defended by Michael Hall to send it out for a corner. Bailey Geliher soon had his first effort of the game saved by Thomas Orton and Ben Richardson’s valiant effort agonisingly went over the bar in the 31st minute. The momentum was building for the Bay. Five minutes later, Gilchrist worried the Tow Law keeper when his long effort was drilled just wide of the post to send it out for a goal kick. The last chance of the half though fell to the feet of Ardelean. He got on the end of a ball played over the defence but his volley was sent wide of the post to the delight of those in blue and white. The Bay deservedly went into the break 1-0 up.
After the interval, the Bay came out with an exuberance of style and panache. Luke Porritt drove at Liam Goldsborough and played a ball into the box where Mark Davison was waiting patiently. Before Davison could connect with the ball, he was pushed by the Tow Law defender to win a penalty. Porritt was the player who stepped up to take the crucial penalty and he delivered, his shot from the spot was coolly sent into bottom right corner sending Orton the wrong way. It was the perfect start to the second half for the Bay. Porritt looked like he was going to score again when he got on the end of Neary’s cross but his effort was sent over the bar. Tow Law were desperately searching to get themselves back into the contest. Their first attack since Porritt’s goal saw a rampaging run by Daniel Marriot into the heart of the Bay defence, result in an effort wide of the post. It looked like the Bay were going to make it 3-0 when a brilliant through ball was played into Davison but Orton made himself big to save Davison’s one on one effort. Tow Law were thrown a lifeline in the 85th minute when they won a penalty. The penalty was given when Davison fouled the Tow Law player as he was trying to get on the end of a free kick. Davison was then shown the yellow card. Thomas McAloon took the penalty and it was saved by Dan Lister in the bottom right corner but to the frustration of Lister, Luke Page was there to put the rebound into the back of the net. Despite the visitors getting their goal, the Bay restored their two-goal advantage in the 89th minute. Noah Millington found space down the left where he played a ball into the box which was contested for by Orton and Davison. Davison who won the aerial duel to send the ball into an empty net. The game ended 3-1 and it was a deserved three points due to a collectively emphatic performance. It was great to see the Bay not sit back and soak up the pressure when they were 2-1 ahead, so often a mistake many teams make, even those in the Premier League. Instead, they pushed for the third goal and found it, which is a huge credit to Liam and his players. Attack definitely proved to be the best form of defence.
WHITLEY BAY: Lister, Lowery, Porritt, Turnbull, Hall, Hutchinson, Geliher, Neary, Davison, Richardson(Millington 79mins), Gilchrist(Ward 73mins)
Referee: Ryan Moore Assistant Referees: Dylan Ure and Matthew Spicer
Man of the Match: Bailey Geliher