Liam McIvor speaks after Shildon game

Saturday’s heavy defeat at home to Shildon brought an abrupt end to Liam McIvor’s winning start as Bay manager and while acknowledging the quality of the visitors, he was clearly disappointed with the performance of his side.

“Shildon are a strong team, a good team. But as a whole we probably let ourselves down today. I think we could have done better with at least four of the goals.

“What we’ve had over the last four games has been a lot of consistency, we’ve defended and done the basics well. I don’t think we’ve done the basics well enough today and I think that’s what’s cost us a lot of goals.”

Liam was forced into making several changes due to injuries and unavailability but did not believe that could explain the disappointing performance. “One thing we’ve got here is a fantastic squad. Yes, we are down in numbers but I’m not going to make that as an excuse. We’ve got a good squad and you want players who haven’t been in to come in and put their stamp on things. It’s a squad game; we don’t have a big squad, we only carry 18 and we’ve got five injuries to key players who’ve all started over the last three games, but when you bring lads in you want them to put their mark on things.”

When asked if he felt that is what happened, his response was “No it didn’t happen and if I’m brutally honest I don’t think we were good enough. We looked like we went into our shell the first 25 minutes. We were lucky it wasn’t 6-0 after 20 minutes. They (Shildon) are going to be up there, they’ll be pushing Bishop all the way and that’s the standard we need to be at if we want to make the play offs because if they don’t go up (automatically) you’ve got them in the play offs.”

Shildon came into the game having scored 26 goals in their previous four games and were clearly full of confidence, and Liam was well aware of their strengths. “I know they score goals for fun, they’ve got two wide players, they’ve got two big centre forwards and they’ve got a good midfield who squeeze the pitch high. I know all about them. I’ve watched them. You’ve just got to deal with that. At the end of the day they’re Shildon, they’re not Newcastle United! They’ve got two big lads up front who don’t run the channels, they stay central, and I see why they score all their goals. They’ve got two very, very good wide players and they’re a good team and they will score goals because they’re always a threat.”

Whitley created fewer chances on goal than in recent games as the manager agreed. “Defensively they were good, we had a couple of half chances first half, Josh Gilchrist went close where he brought it back onto his left and there was another one for Jos Storr. In the second half we created some good chances; Jos went through one on one. Elliott Day had a great header.. and that’s the difference of being a top team. In those circumstances you need to put the chances away.”

“Elliott Day did a fitness test before the game. Ideally he wouldn’t have featured but he said he was fine so we decided to put him on the bench. He had to come on early and he got through 70 minutes without any problems apart from a bit of stiffness because he hasn’t played for a few weeks.”

Unfortunately Whitley will be without Jamie Holmes in the coming weeks. “it was always a short term thing with his seasonal work and he’s away back on the ships so we’ve lost him but there’s a possibility he may be back in mid March. If I’m honest he’s probably above this level. He’s a very good player.  But as soon as he’s back and available he’ll definitely be coming back to Whitley Bay.”

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