SHILDON 4 WHITLEY BAY 0
Saturday 30th September
A burst of three goals in less than five second half minutes decided this top of the table clash at unbeaten leaders Shildon. Until the final twenty minutes, it looked as if Whitley might earn a precious point at Dean Street, but with the rain falling more heavily, Shildon produced three quickfire top quality goals, two of them from former Bay striker Andrei Ardelean.
Elliott Day returned to the starting eleven having recovered from injury while Eddie Thomas, signed on loan from Marske United just 24 hours earlier, was named among the substitutes.
Whitley had an early chance when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box but Josh Gilchrist saw his attempt saved by Mark Foden.
There was plenty of attacking intent from both sides but Whitley struggled to break down the meanest defence in the league, Shildon having conceded just 4 goals in their previous 10 games. The hosts posed a threat especially down the right with the pace of Spalding but Day denied him space and put in several well judged tackles to win possession while Michael Hall in the centre of defence made some vital blocks to limit opportunities on goal. Shortly before the break, Harrison Bond was called on to make an important save from a close range effort.
At the interval the game remained goal less but on the restart, with rain now falling steadily, both sides looked more determined to break the deadlock.
After an early foray by the home side, Whitley had their best chance of the game when Lewis Suddick put in a fine low ball from the right, Foden could only parry it straight at Mark Davison, and the tall striker’s instant reaction effort from inside the six yard box flew high over the bar. Had it hit back of the net, the game might have had a completely different outcome but as it was the Railwaymen quickly broke to the other end where Ardelean’s shot was only just off target.
In their next attack, Shildon were awarded a penalty after several players took a tumble in the box. It appeared that a Whitley player had been tripped but the referee saw it differently.
From a Bay point of view, justice was done when Bond made an excellent save from the spot kick. The young keeper stayed on his feet and with strong hands, pushed Posthill’s shot over the bar.
Shildon were beginning to gain the upper hand, creating more opportunities but still Whitley held firm.
Midway through the half, Nick Gray made three substitutions, with Thomas coming off the bench for his debut. Bond then made another great save, pushing a shot from Jon Weirs round the post. However, from the ensuing left wing corner, Ardelean made the crucial breakthrough, sending a glancing header from the near post into the far corner of the net.
Within two minutes the hosts doubled their lead and it was Ardelean again, this time with a great curling shot into the far corner from the left side of the 18 yard box.
Almost immediately, Posthill raced away down the right, cut in and drove a powerful effort into the roof of the net to make it 3-0 and end any hopes of the Bay comeback.
Stung by this volley of goals, Whitley battled back to stem the flow of home attacks but in the final minute of the 90, Posthill burst through and slotted home a fourth goal.
While Whitley ended up well beaten by an impressive Shildon side, the final scoreline was harsh on them, having matched their opponents for the greater part of the game.
WHITLEY BAY: Bond, Cartwright, Day, Turnbull, Hall, Neary, Suddick(Richardson 67mins), Ellison, Davison(Thomas 67mins), Gilchrist(Page 62mins), Storr(Brewis 80mins)
Substitute not used: Wilkinson
Referee: Harvey Websdale