NEWTON AYCLIFFE 3 WHITLEY BAY 1
Tuesday 14th February
League leaders Newton Aycliffe deservedly came out on top on a night when the foggy conditions made spectating very difficult for the fans who turned out in good numbers for this contest between first and third in the table.
With Elliott Day unwell, Adam Patterson came back into the Bay side while new signing Mark Davison was named among the substitutes.
Having won their previous nine league games, Aycliffe were brimming with confidence and they took the lead inside the fifth minute. Whitley’s marking from a right wing corner was slack, allowing former Bay defender Callum Munro to poke the ball past Pat Nash.
At the other end, a Bay header flew wide of the post from a 10th minute free kick as the pre-match mist thickened into fog.
Whitley’s first real attempt on goal came in the 34th minute when Harvey Neary’s shot from the edge of the box was saved low down by keeper Decklan Greenwood.
Moments later, skipper Michael Hall limped off the field, unable to continue after suffering an injury a few minutes earlier. With no like for like replacement among the substitutes, Whitley were forced into a reshuffle with midfielder Josh Gilchrist coming off the bench.
With just the single goal separating the sides there was everything to play for as the game approached the interval but on the stroke of half time, Aycliffe burst through the Bay defence down the right flank, keeper Pat Nash raced out to try and intercept the ball but he was caught in no man’s land as Liam Jarvie cleverly lobbed the ball over the young keeper from distance and watched as it rolled into the unguarded net.
This was arguably the key moment in the game as it gave Aycliffe a two goal cushion at the break.
With the ground now shrouded in fog, there was some doubt as to whether the game could be completed but after discussions with the two captains, the referee allowed the contest to continue.
On the restart there were early chances at both ends but in the 56th minute a quick break downfield by the hosts saw the ball end up in the Bay net, though from the side of the pitch it was difficult to see which players were involved, though the goal was later credited to substitute Jack Naylor.
Aycliffe were quicker to the ball throughout and when Whitley did attack, the home defence allowed them little time on the ball, restricting attempts on goal to a minimum.
Into the final ten minutes, sub Josh Gilchrist sent a header not far wide but with five minutes to go, new signing Mark Davison, who was posing a threat with his height, helped set up Gilchrist to fire home from around 12 yards. Two minutes later Scott Lowery had a header saved then as the game approached stoppage time Adam Patterson’s powerful shot was deflected wide.
The flourish came too late to affect the outcome leaving Aycliffe’s hugely impressive unbeaten home record intact.
WHITLEY BAY: Nash, Lowery, Patterson, turnbull, Hall (Gilchrist 35mins), Hutchinson, Neary, Richardson (Ward 75mins), Morien (Davison 60mins), Geliher(Millington 70mins), Porritt
Substitute not used: Lister
Referee: Harvey Websdale