A goal each from Jack Devlin and Robbie Bird was enough to take all three points from Hillheads Park.
It was not always smooth sailing for the visitors at Whitley Bay. As In every game so far this season, Goalkeeper James Winter was needed to make some brilliant saves. Along with defenders Lay and Riding making timely blocks and tackles at the back. But all being said it was a well-deserved win for The Welfare.
Several changes in the Ryhope starting line-up resulted in Jack Devlin, Nat Skidmore, Davey Vincent, and Ollie Hotchkinss all starting with Robbie Bird, Chris Wallace and Trewick and Micky Rae left on the bench. Manager Gaz Pearson highlighted these changes were to bring a different dynamic to the team and rest some players who have put in hard shifts in the past weeks.
The intent seemed to be there from both teams with Nathan Stephenson and Ollie Hotchkiss each having early chances that resulted in tame long-range shots. The First heart in mouth moment came om eleven minutes with a Whitley threat on the Ryhope goal. Brad Hird put a teasing ball across the six-yard box but no one was there to convert the opportunity.
Ryhope’s reply was from Jack Devlin from an almost identical position in the Whitley box. But no one from CW was there to convert his cross. Devlin was looking in the mood for it with another couple of chances from range. It was only a matter of time. CW also came close with a header from Riding from a corner just going over, Skidmore and Lay both taking long-range efforts just off target.
Whitley Bay also had their chances in the first half. A Brad Hird shot called Winter into action then later Winter saved from a Proctor rebound after the striker gathered a loose ball with Lay blocking his first shot.
But it was goalless at the break.
HALF TIME 0-0
The second half seemed to continue much as the first did. CW having most of the possession but with not much reward for their effort. In the first fifteen minutes, there was little happening in front of goal. A brilliant freekick from Hotchkiss whopped into the far post was not capitalised on with no one getting on the end of it and the ball eventually going out for a freekick.
Just before the hour, CW made the first of their changes. Robbie Brid came off the bench with a change in shape by Pearson. This seemed to have the desired effect as it seemed to bring Matty Weirs more into an attacking position getting a few long-range shots at goal.
However, it was a Whitley sub that got the home crowd shouting. Adam Shanks coming on and getting into the game early going down in the box twice. Both penalty appeals were waved away by the official.
But on seventy-five minutes the visitors were celebrating. And it seemed to have been coming all game. Robbie Bird had a shot blocked, When it fell to Jack Devlin, he made sure not to miss this time with a blast from the edge of the 18-yard box. Ryhope and Devlin one to the good.
It was to be Devlin’s last contribution to the game. A double sub by CW saw Rae and Trewick come on to replace Devlin and Hotchkiss.
CW were pressing high and looking for a second. It eventually came with two minutes added on at the end of the game. Good pressing on the Whitley defence form both Wiers brothers and Rae allowed Skidmore to win the ball deep in the Whitley half. A nice interchange between Matty Wiers and Rae allowed the latter to have the ball to feet in the 18-yard box. Unselfishly Ray spotted Robbie Bird in loads of room to his right playing a perfect ball to feet, Bird finished well.
CW leave the seaside with 2 goals and more importantly 3 points.
Whitley Bay 0 – 2 Ryhope CW
We will have post match reaction from Manager Gary Pearson, Robbie Bird and Nat Skidmore later.
Next up, Consett Tuesday night at Ryhope Recreation Park. 7.30 KO.