Fin Neary goal lights up final game of the season


Tuesday 30th April

Report by Julian Tyley

After a gap of ten days since their previous outing, Whitley played their final game of the season against local rivals Newcastle Benfield on a sunny evening in the east end of Newcastle.

There was very much an end of season feeling to the game, with nothing but pride at stake for either side, so perhaps there was little surprise that it ended with the points shared.

There was not a great deal to enthuse over in a mundane first 45 minutes, where Whitley played some neat passing football but goalmouth action was at a premium.

A free kick from near the right corner flag gave Whitley a chance on the quarter hour mark but a header was off target. A long ball over the top just a minute later was not controlled by the Benfield defence leaving Lewis Suddick to break through on the left edge of the box. However he was beaten by the pitch as the ball bobbled badly just as he was about to shoot and as a result he scuffed his shot wide of goal.

Another attempt, this time from Cameron Brewis, was saved by keeper Mauro Asikaogu, but the offside flag had been raised.

Dan Lister was called into action midway through the half, blocking an effort from Errington, but it was just about the only save he had to make in the opening period.

A cross from former Bay winger Noah Millington came to nothing with no Benfield player following up in the box.

Just before the interval, a deep cross from Andrew Cartwright towards the back post was poked wide by Gilchrist but that was as good as it got in a goal less first half.

Fortunately for the fans, the game livened up considerably after the restart. Within two minutes, Harvey Neary had a shot saved then three minutes later Bailey Geliher forced a fine save from close range. A free kick from Brewis following a foul just outside the box was fired over the bar but with 55 minutes played, the game was lit up by a stunning goal worthy of a goal of the season nomination.

The ball was played forward by Paddy Almond into the Benfield box. An attempted headed clearance fell to Josh Gilchrist who nodded it back to Fin Neary. The youngster controlled the ball on his chest and brought it down before unleashing a perfectly struck shot into the top right corner of the net from fully 25 yards. It was an outstanding goal by any standard and was just his second since signing from Seaham in the autumn.

Four minutes later it was nearly 2-0 when the Benfield keeper raced out to chase a long through ball, headed it away but when Suddick met the rebound, he tried an audacious shot from fully 40 yards. The ball was headed off the line and Gilchrist, following up and with the goal at his mercy, smashed his shot against the bar.

There had been more action in five minutes than in all of the first half and there was more to come, as just two minutes later, Elliott Day headed just over the bar from a free kick.

Benfield were fortunate to still be in the game and they capitalised on their good luck a few minutes later when Millington drove a shot from wide on the left through a crowded Bay six yard box and past Lister to draw the sides level.

There was still plenty of time for a winner to come and Whitley thought they had regained the lead with 15 minutes left when good play down the right involving substitute Jos Storr and Harvey Neary played Cartwright away down the wing and his perfect cross was turned home by Suddick only for the celebrations to be cut short when the assistant raised his flag for what could only have been a marginal offside decision.

Both sides made substitutions in the closing stages with Harry Law and Evan Wilkinson coming off the bench for Whitley as Liam McIvor gave all of his players a final appearance of the season.

WHITLEY BAY; Lister, Cartwright, Day(Wilkinson 87mins), F Neary(Law 80mins), Almond, Lowery, Geliher(Storr 62mins), H Neary, Gilchrist, Suddick, Brewis

Cautions: None

Referee: Matthew Davidson

Attendance: 235

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