Ludus Est Omnis  Whitley Bay Football Club

Northern League Cup 2nd Round241
Tuesday 10th November 2015 Whitley Bay V Ryhope CW 2-1
Whitley Goalscorers : Kempster12 and Reid84

Match Report By Julian Tyley

For the third time this season, Whitley found Ryhope CW tough opponents and as was the case in the two FA Cup games back in August, the result of Tuesday night’s League Cup tie was in doubt right until the final whistle, with Chris Reid’s late goal proving decisive.

The Wearsiders are flying high in the Second Division, and arrived at Hillheads with just one defeat in their last 14 games but they were in danger of being swept away as Whitley produced wave after wave of attacks in the opening twenty minutes.

Having started much the better, Whitley deservedly took a 12th minute lead when Alex Kempster got his head to a cross from the right by Robbie Williamson, nodding the ball over keeper Chris Rookes and just under the bar.

Three minutes later a darting run from Kempster almost brought reward but this time his low shot from 15 yards was comfortably saved.

Robbie Williamson was posing a real threat down the right wing, causing all sorts of problems for the Ryhope defenders and it seemed only a matter of time before the lead was extended.

However, with 21 minutes on the clock, a misplaced pass in midfield set up a Ryhope attack and with almost their first chance of the game they levelled the score. Top scorer Conor Winter broke through and struck the post with a powerful shot and Josh Home-Jackson seized on the rebound, driving it into the net from close range.

Whitley retaliated and just two minutes later, Kris Hughes crossed the ball from the right but with too much power and the ball flew out of play for a throw in just a foot from the corner flag. In another promising move, a determined run from Williamson saw him whip the ball across goal with both Hughes and Shanks trying but failing to make clean contact with the ball and the chance was lost.

A free kick from Mark Bertram some 30 yards from goal was caught in the wind and almost crept under the bar but Rookes was alert to the danger and did well to push the ball over the bar. Kempster then played a short ball from the edge of the 18 yard box to Chris McDonald who burst through on the left but his cross from the by-line was cleared.

Having failed to capitalise on their first half chances, Whitley still had it all to do after the interval but it was the visitors who began to look the better side as they grew in confidence and denied Whitley time on the ball. In a rare Bay attack, Shanks burst through eight minutes after the restart but when his attempt was blocked, a second shot from Hughes was also defended well by the Ryhope side.

Three minutes later a ball from the wing by Ryhope was flicked goalwards by former Bay midfielder and 2010 Vase winner Richard Hodgson but Gladstone made a fine save, pushing the ball over the bar.

Hughes was working hard but after good approach work his final ball was letting him down, in one instance he attempted an ambitious shot when a pass to the unmarked Kempster would have been a better option.

The difficult playing surface was not helping flowing football and as Whitley’s play became scrappy the visitors twice threatened through tall midfielder Nathan Oliver. After his 25 yard free kick was safely taken by Gladstone, his second attempt four minutes later was pushed away by the diving Bay keeper.

Extra time was beckoning but with six minutes left, substitute Michael Bell broke through on the right and when he played the ball across goal from eight yards out, Chris Reid, who had burst forward from defence, fired the ball home for what proved to be the winner.

While it had not been a classic encounter, it did not turn out to be an unlucky 13th cup tie of the season for Whitley and it was they who progressed to the last sixteen of the competition.

WHITLEY BAY: Gladstone, Gibson, McDonald, Anderson, Laws, Reid, Williamson, Bertram, Shanks(Bell 81mins), Hughes(Hudson 68mins), Kempster

Substitutes not used: Flynn, Young, Day

Referee: David Fitzpatrick

Cautions: None

Ahead of the game, Paddy Atkinson had expressed his concern over the condition of the pitch and reiterated the point after the final whistle.

“To play nice football we have to have a good surface. The conditions tonight weren’t ideal and at times the ball flew all over the place.

“In the first 20 minutes I thought we did well. We competed well and we were playing some lovely football.

“We’ve come to a stage where everybody expects us to win and yes we’re winning but we're not winning nicely and that’s the thing, so do we play nice football and not win, or play ugly football and win?

“That’s 24 games we’ve played now and we’ve only had 5 losses, but people want to see us play nice football. Football comes with an equation, if you want to play nice football, you need to play on a decent surface, balls travel on a nice surface but not when you play on a bit of a mudbath, a heavy pitch.”

The manager was clearly unhappy with some of his players and made it clear that no one is guaranteed a place in the side. “If players aren’t going to do it they need to look over their shoulders. One or two of them are not following instructions. The goals we’re conceding are so simple and you ask yourself is the problem in defence or is it midfield, but it all starts with sloppiness. Someone’s got the ball at their feet in midfield but they make a short pass and give the ball away…. and when players make mistakes they need to accept that fact and take the criticism.”

We’ve got to look at a few things, the whole structure, including fitness. We’re not going back to where we were last year.

“The only real plus is that we’ve won the game and we're in the next round of another cup. We can’t win nicely every game but we need to tick more of the boxes.”