West Auckland Town 2-0 Whitley Bay F.C.
West Auckland picked up a second consecutive victory in 2019 with a 2-0 win against Whitley Bay.
After an uneventful first-half in which chances were limited, West went ahead on 47 minutes when David Dowson’s cross was nodded in by Amar Purewal for his 17th goal of the season.
And on 87 minutes, new signing Mackenzie Heaney secured a first win at the Wanted Stadium since November curling in a left-footed free-kick from just outside the area to keep West in seventh place in the Northern League Division One table on 36 points.
In the reverse fixture in August, a brace from Nathan Fisher saw West Auckland claim a 2-0 victory at Hillheads Park.
Gary Forrest named one change from last weekend’s FA Vase Fourth Round win against Sunderland RCA with Ross Colquhoun replacing the injured Tom Portas in midfield.
West applied the early pressure and inside the opening four minutes were inches away from breaking the deadlock as Alex Francis’ cross from the right-hand side failed to be converted by Purewal as Whitley survived a brief scare.
Mick Mulhern’s side found it difficult to gain the initiative as West’s defence stood firm and remained resilient.
The opening half hour proved to be a scrappy contest with chances few and far between from both teams who were determined to cancel each other out.
On 32 minutes, Whitley carved out the best chance of the half as Ryan Redford played an exquisite through ball to Oliver Martin who timed his run perfectly and forced an impressive save from Shane Bland to keep the scores level.
Within two minutes of getting back underway, West took the lead as Dowson’s in-swinging cross was headed home by Purewal to give Forrest’s side a perfect start to the second-half.
On 50 minutes, Dowson charged towards the Whitley goal as West pushed for a second and from 20-yards out, the strikerhit a right-footed shot only to be denied via a good block by Andy Hunter.
As the visitors searched for an equaliser, Forrest decided to make a change and introduce former Newcastle U23 midfielder Heaney, who recently joined the club from Newcastle Benfield with Francis making way.
West still looked the more likely to double their lead and almost extended it with 18 minutes to go as Arran Wearmouth produced a sumptuous pass to slide the ball into the feet of Purewal, though the latter could only direct his effort straight into the gloves of Hunter for a routine save.
With full-time on the horizon, West wrapped up the game with three minutes to go as Heaney’s curling free-kick sailed past Hunter to ensure a first victory at home since November.
Next up for West is a trip to Sunderland RCA for the fourth encounter between the sides this season as they look to carry on their good run of form in 2019 (15:00).
West Auckland – Bland, Hegarty, Price, Cobain, Hunter, Colquhoun, Francis (Heaney, 66), Snaith (c), Dowson(Burnicle, 77), Purewal, Wearmouth (Mitchell, 86)
Subs not used– Morris, Dodds
Goals – Purewal (47), Heaney (87)
Whitley Bay – Hunter, McFarlane, Walton, Christensen, Anderson, Taylor, Martin (Brannen, 90), Redford (Carr, 88)Ardelean, Glen-Ravenhill (c), Salmon (Suddick, 72)
Subs not used – Caines, Cooper
Referee – Sam Packer
Attendance – 224
Report by Harry Crowe
Photo by Andy Mitchell.