Whitley Bay v Stockton Town FC
ANCHORS BATTLE WIND AND SURFACE TO CONTINUE WINNING RUN
The Anchors returned to action today after a 3 week break with a hard fought victory at Whitley Bay to make it 5/5 since the turn of the year
Joe Taylor made his first start as Max Craggs was rested with an injury and Kev Hayes replaced Pete Bulmer on the right.
The First Half wasn’t the greatest spectacle your likely to see and that’s an understatement. A gusty wind and a poor surface didn’t help the quality of the football and it took a while for both sides to produce anything other than goal kicks or throw ins. Bay's best effort came from Daniel Wright as he curled a 20 yarder just wide after good work down the right hand side. Aside from a few corners The Anchors just dug in as the ball kept blowing back towards their goal from clearances and their best chance fell to Kev Hayes who after seeing his first shot blocked fired in a right foot effort from a very tight angle and Ross Logan made a superb save diving to his right to keep it out. Half Time 0-0
Second half wasn't a great spectacle but was a big improvement and the Anchors certainly adapted to the conditions better as they pressed Bay back. Stockton took the lead on 52 minutes as, after a Joe Taylor effort was deflected for a corner, Taylor took the dead ball himself and his flat delivery found ROBERTS unmarked inside the 6 yard box to neatly head home. The Anchors enjoyed a good spell and dominated possession but the slowness of the pitch was causing problems with final delivery.
It was Whitley Bay who had the next chance as they took advantage of a gap in Stocktons defence and worked the ball to Olly Martin who's low pull back was deflected to Ravenhill just 10 yards he struck a low shot which looked a goal only for Anchors skipper Adam Nicholson to get back on the line and make an important block with his body low down at the near post.
That block proved to be pivotal as just 5 minutes later Stockton increased their lead when the ball was worked to Mulligan and then Taylor who set Risbrough away, he got past McFarlane for a rare occasion and crossed to ROBERTS who's control and turn in one motion created space for him to poke the ball home from close range.
This appeared to kill the game off and it looked like petering out but Martin skipped past Coulthard on 81 minutes and his cross was met by Ardelean who somehow managed to clear the bar from just a couple of yards out, even more inexplicably was the Referee awarding a corner....
A Taylor corner on 85mins cleared everyone and Jordan Robinson retrieved it and played a one two with Stockton before pulling it back into the goalmouth, sub Pete Bulmer had an effort blocked and his second shot was flying in the bottom corner until Luke Taylor slid in and cleared off the line expertly for Bay.
On 89 mins Chris Stockton won the ball on half way and raced forward to collect Mulligans pass and he let fly from the angle of the box but his effort flashed past Logans upright as the Anchors tried to see the game out.
Ardelean had another opportunity to get Bay a consolation goal in injury time but screwed a shot wide when well placed and the Ref blew for full time from the resulting goal kick. FT 0-2
A satisfying result in the end and the three points were deserved. A very difficult game for the Anchors ball players who all found it difficult to get any momentum despite working hard, but its a team game and once again the skipper Nicholson and his partner Robinson were excellent, Tom Coulthard who's not played much in the last two months looked strong again and got the nod for MoM. Shabs Mohammed and Joe Taylor formed a good partnership in the central midfield and Mulligan linked things up well. With Mikey Roberts getting back to scoring form the squad looks healthy and full of competition. No reason why this run cant be continued in the next month.
Photos: Harry Cook
Video: James Cartwright
Words: Lee Nicholson