THORNABY 2 WHITLEY BAY 2
Saturday 22nd April
An equaliser in the last minute of stoppage time denied Whitley victory in their final game of the season at Thornaby.
With the Teessiders already relegated and Whitley assured of fourth place there was little at stake but both sides were clearly determined to end the season on a positive note.
Heavy overnight rain put the game in doubt but despite showers during the afternoon, the pitch was perfectly playable.
Whitley started strongly and took the lead with just over six minutes played. Following good work down the right wing, Harvey Neary played a cross field pass to the opposite flank where Luke Porritt’s teasing ball into the goalmouth was finger tipped onto the bar by experienced keeper Robert Dean under pressure from Malcolm Morien. However, the ball rebounded back into play where Mark Davison lashed it into the net from close range.
At this stage Whitley looked much the better side but gradually Thornaby worked their way into the game and midway through the half it took two excellent saves by Dan Lister to keep Whitley in front. Gary Mitchell was man he thwarted on both occasions but four minutes later the Thornaby striker got on the end of a cross from the right wing by Joe Pickett to tap home the equaliser.
The game was now evenly contested with Davison volleying wide after receiving the ball from a free kick while at the other end the ball was cleared off the line following a home attack.
After their encouraging start, Whitley were guilty of sitting back and allowing the hosts space in midfield and at the interval the scorers remained level.
Six minutes after the restart, Morien fired wide but five minutes later he made amends, heading home at the back post from an excellent cross by Luke Porritt.
Cameron Brewis, back in the side following injury, picked up a knock and had to replaced just after the hour by Jackson Ward,
With 69 minutes played, Lister made another good save, blocking an effort from Connor. Four minutes later Davison sent a powerful header just over the bar from Ben Richardson’s corner.
Whitley had opportunities to put the result beyond doubt but the nearest they came was from a diving header by Davison which flew wide of the target. Nevertheless it looked as if they had done enough to claim the points despite a spirited effort by the Teessiders but then in the fourth minute of added time the home side forced the ball home after a cross to the back of the six yard box.
In fairness to Thornaby, it was a point they deserved on the balance of play but it was disappointing for Whitley and their travelling fans to concede so late in the game.
WHITLEY BAY: Lister, Neary, Porritt, Turnbull, Hall, Lowery, Brewis(Ward 64mins), Richardson, Morien(Millington 70mins), Davison, Gilchrist
Referee: Lewis Hardy