WHITLEY BAY 2 SUNDERLAND RCA 0
Tuesday 28 March
By Harry Salkeld
Whitley Bay close the gap on Ashington to two points with a dominant performance against Sunderland RCA.
After a great performance on Saturday, the Bay looked to make it three home game wins in a row. Nick Gray made two changes from his side that beat Tow Law at the weekend. Noah Millington replaced Josh Gilchrist, making it his first start for the club. Jackson Ward replaced Ben Richardson and new boys, Rio Eastway and Scott Young both started on the bench. The away side came into this game, short of confidence after suffering a 5-1 defeat to Bishop Auckland.
The Bay started off as the better side, creating an early chance via Noah Millington in the first few seconds of the game. He had a shot denied by Wilkinson after he went on a rampaging run down the left-flank.
Millington showed his pace once again when he ran onto the end of Harvey Neary’s through ball but his pass played through to Jackson Ward was agonisingly intercepted by the RCA defender. Noah Millington started the game really brightly and had been the biggest threat to the RCA defence in the early stages.
The Bay continued to retain the ball with ease, probing the RCA defence at will. However, due to every RCA player getting behind the ball it was difficult for the Bay to find space to play into.
In the 12th minute, the Bay increased the pressure when Bailey Geliher swung in a great delivery which was unfortunately not met by a Whitley Bay player. The pressure continued when another ball was played in by Scott Lowery but, once again, no one attacked the cross. This was soon to become the theme of the game.
In the 15th minute, Noah Millington carried on his electric start to the game when he bamboozled the RCA defence, using two quick touches to get past Alex Langley and Joseph Lennox. He then drove at the keeper and the calmly sent the ball into the bottom right-corner giving Wilkinson no chance of denying him. It was a well-deserved goal for the Bay and Millington who had started the game off brilliantly.
Minutes after the goal, the Bay nearly made it 2-0. Jackson Ward went on a storming run at the RCA defence, the ball was then played to Mark Davison who used his physicality to shield the defender of the ball. Davison then passed to Millington but his shot frustratingly rattled off the bar.
In the 19th minute, Harvey Neary swung in a majestic ball to the back post which was greeted by Scott Lowery but his headed attempt was sent wide off the post. The Bay had another great chance after their corner was cleared to no further than Bailey Geliher, who fired his shot wide.
Matthew Wilkinson’s goal kicks were proving a weakness in his game, they were only getting as far as the Bay midfield which was sending the Bay on several attacks.
In the 30th minute, an astonishing ball over the top of RCA defence by Millington was met by Porritt whose shot was sent just wide of the far post. A minute later, Neary had a shot blocked by the RCA defence.
With the last chance of the half, Jackson Ward shot just beyond the post. The Bay players went into the break 1-0 ahead. It was a well-deserved advantage which should have been more than one. It was all Whitley in the first half. The away side instigated zero scoring opportunities in the first half giving Dan Lister a relaxing first 45 minutes.
After the interval, the Bay started in the same vein as they ended the first half. Mark Davison nearly opened his account for the evening when his drilled shot was parried out for a corner by Wilkinson.
In the 61st minute, Jackson Ward’s volley was sent over the bar after great play from the Bay. In the 64th minute, the first substitution off the game was made. Jackson Ward made way for Rio Eastway to make his debut.
The Bay doubled their lead in the 69th minute when Lowery found Millington with oodles of space, setting him up for an easy finish to score his second off the night.
Bailey Geliher, who had been injured in the build-up to the goal came off for Josh Gilchrist in the 70th minute. Two minutes later, Millington received a standing ovation for his brilliant performance when he made way for Ben Richardson.
In the 76th minute, Mark Davison found himself one on one with the keeper after he won the ball back from the RCA defence. However, his shot was curled wide of the far post keeping the score at 2-0.
In the 77th minute, Scott Young replaced Luke Porritt. In the 82nd minute Adam Hutchinson came off with an injury leaving the Bay to play out the game with ten men. Hopefully Hutchinson’s injury isn’t significant as he has been instrumental in the Bay’s success this season.
In the 85th minute, the two substitutes, Richardson and Eastway, linked up to create a fantastic goal scoring opportunity. Eastway had an open goal to shoot into but the defender brilliantly blocked his shot, throwing himself at the ball, to keep the Bay’s advantage at two.
The full-time whistle was blown ending the game with a score-line of 2-0 to the Bay.
It was a very comfortable three points for the Bay. There could have been more goals by the hosts but credit to the RCA defence who were gritty and steely for most of the game. Noah Millington was rightly presented the Man of the Match award by Andrew Turnbull. Congratulations to Noah for getting two goals on his first start for the club.
It got even better for Whitley last night when the news came out that Whickham had scored with the last kick of the game to beat Ashington!
The Bay need to keep up their good run of form, treating the next five games as five finals. It is not an easy task, but the players and coaching staff have shown that we are more than capable of collating a large number of W’s next to our name in the form table.
HOWAY THE BAY !
WHITLEY BAY: Lister, Lowery, Porritt(Young 77mins), Turnbull, Hall, Hutchinson, Geliher(Gilchrist 70mins), Neary, Davison, Millington(Richardson 72mins), Ward(Eastway 64mins)
Referee: Jordan Nicholson
Assistant Referees: Ian Carr and Jack Whitfield
Cautions: Luke Porritt
Man of the Match: Noah Millington