After the disappointment of the defeat at Redcar the previous week, Bay manager Nick Gray was pleased with the way his side bounced back with a well deserved 3-1 victory over Crook Town at Hillheads.
“It was always important after a poor performance and a defeat to get back to winning ways and we did. It doesn’t matter how we got the win but I thought we were the better side. They did have a spell in the second half but I thought that over the 90 minutes we were definitely the better side.
“I thought it took us 20 minutes to get into the game and when we scored the goal it settled us down. It was a great goal and Steve (Turnbull)’s first goal for the club. I think that’s about 17 players who’ve scored this season which is good. The goal settled us down and we started moving the ball quickly and better and we started getting to the ball first. In the first 20 minutes I thought it was like a basketball game but then we got control of the ball and after that we did well. At half time it was 2-0 and then in the second half I thought we started well and then they made a couple of substitutions and it made a difference to them. They’ve got a goal out of nothing and then for the next 10-15 minutes they applied a bit of pressure as you’d expect from them but I thought we dealt with it really well. We knew they’re quite direct and I thought we dealt with that. When we got the third goal it gave us that bit of relaxation.”
Bailey Geliher was available again and came back into the side, and he earned praise from the manager. “He’s a good player, he’s just 17 so he’ll be inconsistent at times but I thought he did well today. It was pleasing for his goal and now to get better he needs to play.”
Another youngster from the Morpeth Academy, Noah Millington came off the bench in the closing to stages to make his debut. Nick commented “Noah’s a lad who’s always wanted to get into senior football and he’s got a great future ahead of him. I was pleased for him and he’s just hungry to be more involved in games which I’m sure he will be. It was pleasing, he’s just another young lad who brings the average age down again.
“The key thing is when you’ve got a squad like we’ve got, you’ve got quite a few experienced players whether it’s Malky, Steve Turnbull, Ben Richardson, Luke Porritt who’s only 26, Michael Hall, Adam Hutchinson. They’ve got to help and talk to the younger players and that’s what they’re doing, they keep their standards high. The young players have got to take things on board and they do and that’s pleasing because a lot of young lads these days think they know it all. We’ve got a great bunch who’ll take things on board and we’re all in it together. They’re a great blend and help bounce off each other which makes a good dressing room.
“We’ve got 9-10 weeks left of the season 14, games left so we take the games as they come. At the start of the season I said I’d be happy with a top six finish and we’re still in with a shout of the league. We just won’t go away and that’s credit to the boys in there but you’ve just got to concentrate on your own things. We’re in a good place and that’s the main thing. There’s a lot of football still to be played this season.”
With the midweek game at home to Sunderland RCA called off by the League, the next game is on Saturday a long trip south to Pickering and the manager is well aware that it will be a difficult game, quickly followed by a midweek trip to league leaders Newton Aycliffe. “Next week will be a very hard game. We know that, just like every other game. To win games you’ve got to be matching the opposition for their work, concentration levels, hunger, desire and then hopefully your quality comes through to win games. We’re under no illusions next week it’s going to be tough but that’s probably what we need.
“Then we go to Newton Aycliffe on Valentine’s night. They’re the best team I’ve seen this season. They’re top of the league and the team in the best form at the minute so credit to them. They’re the sort of games you’re in football for. You look forward to them games. It’s going to be difficult but we’ve got to concentrate on Pickering first.”