DunstonTwo wins in the past two games had been followed by three postponements as the Spring weather continued to be rubbish. Finally the wind and rain let up enough to allow football to return to Hillheads. Disappointingly, Washington hat-trick hero Andy Robertson was missing from the starting line-up, preferring to add to his goals total the following day with the reserves as they took on Blyth in the Northumberland Cup Final. Into his place, stepped 22-year old Callum Patton for his fourth game of the season since joining from Morpeth. The first warning that the evening might not go as well as hoped was when Whitley lost the toss and had to attack the car park end in the first half. Understanding why we never did as well kicking this way was certainly a job for Mulder and Scully.
The perfect response to Dunston hitting Whitley's post early on was for the Shankster to round Dunston's Liam O'Connell in goal and score. For the first 23 minutes it looked like the performance in the League Cup was to be repeated. Then Dunston scored. Fifteen minutes later the Bay were 3-1 down. However, two Fowler corners were turned in by Shankster to complete his hat-trick. O'Connell suddenly became more and more irate and kept shouting instructions to Dunston's Steve Bowey. He responded well every time the four of us behind the goal repeated his calls of "Bowzer...Bowzer."
Half time arrived and the score was 3-3 - the 197 who had preferred to watch the Bay instead of the Toon's game at home to Manchester City, were rewarded with the first half's excitement. We were quite chipper as we enjoyed our cups of tea/bovril and giant cola bottles, courtesy of Tommy's tea emporium.
A quiet start to the second half erupted when Patton was disgracefully upended. Of course O'Connell and Bowzer didn't agree.
Unfortunately, the Shanksy's kick didn't give us the lead and worse was to follow when a Tom Flynn slip allowed Bowzer a simple header to score into the unguarded net. A fifth goal for the visitors sealed the win. We hadn't seen that coming and relegation was still a possibility. A home game. Elsewhere Newcastle had come from behind to draw 1-1 with Champions' League Semi-finalists Manchester city. I certainly know which game I would have preferred to be at, despite the result.
A point today would end Whitley's relegation worries and in our first Saturday home game in well over a month it looked like Kempster's shot from a saved Callum Monroe shot had done the trick. However Whitley's thread-bare and knackered squad tired in the second half after playing 11 games in three weeks. Sunderland scored a tap-in with just over 16 minutes left and a winner in the final minutes of the game. The state of the squad had reached such a level that keeper Flynn had had to be brought on as an outfield substitute player.