It’s seven, it’s heaven for Whitley Bay


Tuesday 5th March 

Report by Harry Salkeld

After a disappointing run of three games without a win, the Bay were back at Hillheads looking for a win in the most important game of the year. Almost two years ago we last played our local rivals, North Shields, and that was a game to forget as they won the Northern League title on our soil. The thought of a win, a big win, one that would be remembered forever felt so good. It sounded like the perfect revenge story.  

Only one change was made to the side that lost against Crook. Evan Wilkinson was replaced by Andrew Cartwright and for the first time at Hillheads Park, both Finlay and Harvey Neary started in the midfield. Just before the game started the Shields players won the coin flip and switched sides meaning we would be shooting towards the car park. In recent times, this hasn’t worked out well for us, so those who regularly watch the Bay had their fingers crossed, hoping the curse would be broken.  

The game was underway, and the first chance of the game fell to the Bay as Harvey Neary had a shot blocked by a Shields defender. Minutes later and Gilchrist had a free kick in what looked like a promising position for a cross. However, Gilchrist had different ideas as he had a shot that was tipped over for a corner. Unfortunately, nothing materialised from the corner, but it was a wicked attempt that gave Callum Dobson a glimpse of what he was in for, for the rest of the night.  

It wasn’t much longer until the away side had their first attack of the game after some brilliant build up play set them on their way. The attack was ended with a shot at goal that was heroically blocked by captain Hall to keep the score at 0-0. In the 18th minute, the Derby Day mood was starting to kick in as tackles were flying in from every angle and fans were getting annoyed with the referee’s decisions. It really was everything you want and expect from this fixture. In the 29th minute, Harvey Neary saw his first time shot fly over the bar, much to the delight of the Shields fans behind the goal. Little did they know, Harvey was going to come back to haunt them.  

In the 38th minute, Michael Hall had a shot deflected off the top of the bar after a well worked Bay corner. One minute later and the Bay had another corner with Andrew Cartwright looming over the ball. The cross was whipped in with pace, bend and venom by Josh Gilchrist which put the Bay 1-0 up. It was genuinely one of the best corners I have seen in a long time, hence why it flew wickedly past numerous Shields defenders! 

In the 43rd minute, the Bay’s pressure didn’t stop as Gilchrist found himself through on goal with only the keeper to beat, but his shot was blazed way over the bar and out of Hillheads Park. Would that missed opportunity come back to bite the Bay? Thankfully, that question was quickly answered as the Bay doubled their advantage through Harvey Neary. It was a wonderful finish that went through the legs of two Shield’s players! Everyone in Hillheads Park thought that the Bay were going into the break two to the good, but no, there was more to come! Seconds before the half time whistle was blown, the ball fell to the feet of Harvey Neary who sweetly half-volleyed the ball into the back of the net. It was a tremendous finish that left both sets of fans stunned.  

The Shields players took the centre kick, and the half-time whistle was blown seconds later. It was a phenomenal first half performance and it was now just a case of rubbing salt in the red and white wounds.  

The Bay continued to dominate the ball and tempo in the early stages of the second half, but no real chances were created. In the 60th minute, the Bay went on their first big attack of the half. A lovely through ball was played into the path of Paddy Almond who calmly smashed it past the keeper! It was great to see a centre-back on the scoresheet in that fashion and it weirdly didn’t come as a surprise due to the fact Almond has shown his attacking prowess before. In the 64th minute, the visitors scored through McCamley who drilled the ball into the bottom right corner.  

In the 67th minute, an array of yellow cards was handed out to players, after an explosion of emotion and anger occurred in the middle of the park. In the 73rd minute, Elliott Day went on a signature run down the left, chopped inside onto his preferred right foot, sending a Shields player to the shops and back in the process, and smashed it into the back of the net. Straight after the goal, a triple substitution was made by Liam McIvor as McGeorge, Gilchrist and Suddick were all replaced by Cameron Brewis, Jos Storr and new signing, Marcello Benedetti.  

In the 81st minute, a cross, from Jos Storr, was poked into the back of the net by Shields defender, Curtis Coppen. This was a goal that put a smile on many Bay fans faces as Coppen had been involved in a few confrontations throughout the evening. In the 90th minute, Shields scored a further consolation goal after an unfortunate slip led to an easy finish for Dan Savage.  

However, the away side didn’t get the last laugh as Finlay Neary made it seven for the Bay, in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Seconds later and the whistle ended what was a memorable, historical, and ultimately sensational night for everyone involved in the club. Liam McIvor said when I interviewed him, ‘It has been a fantastic night, one that I think we’ll all remember for a while. Fantastic night for everyone involved, from the chairman to the helpers and everyone involved with Whitley Bay and everyone who supports us.’ 

A couple of records were broken by the lads in this game. It was the most goals scored by a team in this derby and we also equalled the record for the biggest win margin in games between the two clubs! Two brilliant records to break and a lot of credit needs to go to the lads and, of course, Liam. 

At the end of the game, I had the pleasure of awarding Harvey Neary Man of the Match. Well played Harvey! Thank you to everyone who came and supported the lads and thank you to the North Shields fans who made the coastal journey to support their side and add to the atmosphere. There have been many iconic 7-2 scorelines over the years. Villa vs Liverpool and Bayern vs Spurs but nothing will be as memorable and iconic in the footballing world as Whitley Bay 7-2 North Shields, HOWAY THE BAY!!! 

WHITLEY BAY: Pickering, Cartwright, Day, Ellison, Almond, Hall, McGeorge(Brewis 74mins), H.Neary(Law 81mins), Gilchrist(Benedetti 74mins), F.Neary, Suddick(Storr 74mins) 

Attendance: 554 

Cautions: Cartwright, Suddick, Gilchrist, Almond, H.Neary 

Bay Fencing & Landscaping Man of the Match: Harvey Neary 

Referee: Christopher Steadman 

Assistant referees: Colin Royal and Mark Katoroz 

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