|STL League Division One||231|
|Tuesday 3rd January 2012||Dunston UTS V Whitley Bay||1-1|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley began the new year as they ended the old one, with a 1-1 draw in windy conditions. This was an entertaining game between two well matched teams and the point gained was sufficient to move Whitley ahead of West Auckland into second place on goal difference, albeit having played four more games.
Paul Chow, Damon Robson and David Pounder were unavailable but Chris Fawcett returned following suspension, while Dunston were also missing two players, including pacy winger Lee McAndrew, due to holiday commitments.Gale force winds which had battered the region during the day eased sufficiently to make playing conditions much better than at Marske three weeks earlier and both sides adapted well. Whitley’s first chance came from a Paul Robinson free kick after seven minutes when the ball into the goalmouth was headed down by David Coulson and keeper Josh Carmichael gathered the ball just ahead of Chris Reid. Ian Herron fired a 20 yard effort past the upright for Dunston and soon after provided the cross from which Andrew Bulford angled a shot which struck the base of the post.
A long range effort from Robinson dipped just over the bar as Whitley responded but with 28 minutes on the clock Dunston took the lead. A long clearance by Carmichael was carried by the wind well into the Bay half where Bulford latched on to the bouncing ball and took it round Hayes before slotting past last defender Coulson.
Soon afterwards, Hayes blocked an effort from Kane Young but with Michael McMullen causing problems down the right wing and LeePaul Scroggins prompting from midfield, Whitley were very much in the game.
Conditions deteriorated for a while as Whitley not only faced the wind but also rain as a heavy shower swept down the ground but six minutes before the interval they drew level when Brian Smith escaped his marker to head home at the near post from Robbie Dale’s left wing corner. The goal was no more than Whitley deserved after creating the better chances during the opening half.
Four minutes after the break, Dale burst through but poked the ball just over the bar then the increasingly confident and impressive McMullen played a dangerous looking ball across goal and just beyond the far post. Fawcett’s pace down the wing put pressure on the home defence and from his cross into the goalmouth, Galbraith was relieved to see his miscued defensive clearance fly inches over the bar.
Whitley had the upper hand for the first 20 minutes of the half but lacked the cutting edge that Chow might well have provided. Dunston battled back to create chances of their own in the latter stages, but with Callum Anderson, captain on the night in fine form, there were few shots on target to test Hayes.
With 15 minutes left, Kerr was replaced by Ormston and Fawcett gave way to Craig McFarlane, who was making a welcome return after missing the last six games through injury.
Both sides continued to look for a winner, with Galbraith going close for Dunston as they attempted to extend their six game winning run. Meanwhile Whitley, who twice came from behind to snatch victory at Dunston last season, almost repeated the feat when Scroggins fired just past the post three minutes from time following good build up play by Robinson and McMullen.
WHITLEY BAY: Hayes, Anderson, Reid(Downey 89mins), Smith, Coulson, Fawcett(McFarlane 76mins), McMullen, Scroggins, Kerr(Ormston 75mins), Dale, Robinson
Substitutes not used: Hammond, Rowe
Caution: Scroggins, Reid
Referee: D Chapman (Sedgefield)