|Ebac League Division One||235|
|Thursday 4th April 2013||Whitley Bay V Dunston UTS||1-0|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
A goal from Tomi Ameobi midway through the second half gave Whitley three valuable points from their game against current FA Vase holders Dunston UTS. The win took Whitley four points clear of Dunston with two games in hand and strengthened their grip on fourth place in the table.
The visitors came into the game on an excellent run of form, having won their last five games without conceding a goal. However, like Whitley, Dunston are currently playing three games a week and not surprisingly given the heavy schedule, both sides were below full strength due to a combination of injuries and squad rotation. Paul Chow was on the bench, as was Dunston’s top scorer Andrew Bulford, but Lee Kerr was back in the Bay line up.
On yet another cold night, a heavy sleet shower cleared just before kick off, as the sides came onto the field accompanied by mascots from the visiting Potters Bar Primary Schools side, who were in Whitley Bay for the North Tyneside Football Festival. Along with two other groups of visiting schoolchildren from the Festival, they swelled the otherwise disappointing crowd on a night when many fans had opted to stay indoors and watch the live TV coverage of Newcastle’s Europa League game in Benfica. The atmosphere created by the youngsters matched the action on the pitch as both sides set about playing some good quality attacking football, passing the ball to feet in a fast moving game.Whitley had the edge in the early stages, but after James Fairley saw a shot blocked after ten minutes, Dunston’s Lewis Teasdale fired a shot across goal at the other end. Brad Brooking surprised Dunston keeper Liam Connell when from a narrow angle out on the right, he tried a shot rather than crossing the ball and Connell just got his fingers to the ball, pushing it over the bar. A minute later, Brooking again went close when his looping header almost deceived Connell, the keeper touching the ball onto the bar. As Whitley maintained the pressure, Lee Kerr’s pass put Fairley in on goal but he fired just over the bar.
As would be expected from a side with such a good recent defensive record, Dunston looked confident at the back and Whitley could not find the bit of extra quality needed to break them down.
At the other end, Kyle Hayes was kept busy but had only one really testing save to make as the Bay defence looked strong. In the continued absence through injury of Callum Anderson and Chris Reid, Tomi Ameobi was proving influential at the back, while also proving his worth up front, on several occasions chasing what appeared to be lost causes and winning possession. Dunston skipper Ben Cattanach was impressing for the visitors, defending resolutely and breaking down a number of promising attacks.
The half time whistle came with the sides deadlocked and little to choose between them, and it was already looking as if the first goal could prove decisive.
The second half saw Whitley steadily take control of the game but lacking height up front, they were struggling to get telling shots on goal.
The game suddenly changed just after the hour mark when Paul Chow came off the bench. In their next attack, Whitley caused confusion in their opponents’ defence as Dunston players seemed to concentrate on addressing the challenge of Chow, and when Scroggins received a short pass from Fairley, his ball into the goalmouth found Ameobi unmarked and he quickly lashed the ball into the roof of the net from four yards out. It was fitting that Ameobi should score the crucial goal as he was having an impressive game and was the popular choice as man of the match.
Having breached such a water tight defence, Whitley nearly got a second goal six minutes later when a neat move ended with Paul Robinson rifling a stinging shot towards goal. Connell could only parry the shot but recovered quickly enough to gather the ball before a Bay player could reach it.
The visitors brought on Bulford in an attempt to rescue the game but the man who had scored on each of the last four times the sides had met, was unable to make a significant impact on the game. Craig McFarlane, defending resolutely, kept Whitley in front as he cleared the ball off the line, but although Dunston battled away well, they struggled to make an impression and failed to test Kyle Hayes.
Paul Robinson made way for debutant Dillon Blake for the last 15 minutes and the teenager gave a good account of himself in a defensive midfield role.
Whitley held on comfortably in the closing stages of a game that was notable for the excellent spirit in which it was played with not one bad challenge from either side; proof if it were needed that a game can be keenly contested without having to resort to rash or unfair tactics. It was certainly an instance of players setting a good example to the young footballers in the crowd.
WHITLEY BAY: Hayes, Brooking, Novak, McFarlane, Ameobi, Scroggins, Pounder(Chow 61mins), Kerr, Fairley(C Smith 89mins), Fawcett, Robinson(Blake 75mins)
Substitutes not used: Rowe, Burns
Referee: Shaun Hudson