“It was a great reaction”

Report by Julian Tyley

Whitley returned from their Tyneside derby at Heaton Stannington with a share of the spoils after a 1-1 draw at Grounsell Park on Wednesday night and manager Liam McIvor had mixed emotions after the game.

“I think after Saturday it was a great reaction. Sometimes in that situation people feel sorry for themselves and I think tonight we’ve shown what we’re about if I’m honest. People will say it was a fair result but I’m more gutted we haven’t taken all three points especially when we’ve been 1-0 up for a long period of time. I’m disappointed with their goal. It came from absolutely nothing. I think it was a bit of a mistake by Graeme and the only time they looked dangerous was once they’d scored. They got that second wind but we defended very well as a team. I thought the midfield were excellent. We are a young team but we need just that bit more of a cutting edge in the final third and I don’t think we had that the second half. We created a lot of half chances and were excellent in the first half and I was disappointed we didn’t get a second goal. There were times when I think if the extra bit of quality’s there in the final third we would finish off teams like that because if I’m honest Heaton Stan used a lot of long balls but I thought we coped with them defensively brilliantly.

“It was a hard second half. Both teams were tiring but that’s when you want that bit of quality. Harvey Neary had a shot from 10 yards but hits it over the bar and Macca (James McGeorge) made a couple of great little opportunities but he tried to pass it instead of being selfish. But, a point’s not a bad result away to play-off contenders but I’m also disappointed that we didn’t take all three.”

Andrew Cartwright went off with an injury late in the second half but as Liam said “every team in the league are going to pick up injuries playing two or even three times a week and you’ve got to deal with it as a squad.”

Marcello Benedetti, signed just 24 hours earlier, was on the bench but did not get a chance to make his debut, as Liam explained. “We’ve heard a lot about Marcello but he’s only been training with us once so I hadn’t seen enough of him to bring him on with the game as it was. I had been looking to bring him on in the last 10 minutes but I know what I get with young Macca on the right side, he’s hard working on and off the ball and had a great game.

“After Saturday you could go either way, you could go into your shell and hide or you could come out, stick your chest out and front it out, and I thought we did that really well and the midfield three were brilliant.”

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