We welcomed newcomers to the league, Ryton & Crawcrook A to Temple Park hoping to quickly forget about the humbling defeat by Forest Hall from the previous week. Again we were forced into a number of changes with no fewer than 8 of the squad unavailable due to a mixture of work, injury & generally being under the thumb! We were able to welcome back Kyle Oxley from injury and handed a debut to midweek signing Jordan Howe.
A probing first 10 minutes for both sides soon burst in to life when Sean Caffrey took advantage from a lapse of concentration in Rytonâ€™s defence and sped through from 30 yards and slotted home confidently past the oncoming keeper. This settled a few nerves and we began to ascertain a dominance in the game with Andy Smith & Oxley finding plenty of space on the wings to deliver some dangerous crosses in to the box. A well worked break down the left saw Smith fizz in a low cross in to the box, this was met by Paulie Bell, making a surging run in to the box to meet it but saw his effort rebound back off the bar from 8 yards.
Despite this pressure we were almost caught napping at the back. A long ball found the Ryton forward on the edge of the 18 yard box but his goal-bound strike was superbly pushed on to the post and behind for a corner by Symington. From the resulting corner the ball was cleared from danger and latched upon by Mick Cave. Running from his own box he played in Smith on the overlap deep in the Ryton half. His low centre was met by Caffrey for his second of the afternoon.
HALF TIME: 2 - 0.
The scoreline was further increased 2 minutes in to the second half. A free kick from deep was headed back in to the box by Caffrey and was met by Jonny Doyle who looped a header back over the keeperâ€™s head in to the net. Minutes later Daniel â€œSpongyâ€ Wilson surged through, brilliantly taking the ball in his stride but lacked the necessary composure to put his chance away, sending his placed finish wide when one-on-one with the away keeper. We continued to apply the pressure and were rewarded on the hour mark. Oxley showed fast feet, beating his man inside the 18 yard box before smashing home in to the top corner from the edge of the box to register his first goal in a Whitburn shirt.
A lapse by the home team soon followed and Ryton got a goal back. Their industrious striker getting a small reward for his efforts; finishing from the edge of the box into Symingtonâ€™s bottom corner. This wake-up call and some â€˜choiceâ€™ words from the gaffer sparked some life in to the team and we soon claimed back our 4 goal advantage. Skipper Jack Fawcett playing a through ball for Smith to get on the end of, who applied a thunderous finish at the keeperâ€™s near post from just inside the 18 yard box. A few more chances went begging from wayward passes in the final third before Smith grabbed a second in almost identical fashion to his first. Ryton managed to score another consolation before the afternoonâ€™s scoring was completed. Again Smith the provider for Caffrey, squaring the ball inside the 6 yard box to leave him with the simplest of tap-ins and to claim his hat-trick
FULL TIME: Whitburn Athletic 7 â€“ 2 Ryton & Crawcrook A