Three goals in a five minute second-half window continued Shildon’s undefeated start upon return to Northern League life continue in impressive fashion.
After a first half that will live short in the memory, Andrei Ardelean opened the scoring around the 70th minute before adding his second shortly after. Luke Spalding added The Railwaymen’s third almost immediately.
In the dying stages of the game, prolific Joe Posthill made sure the game didn’t finish without his name on the scoresheet, having seen a penalty saved earlier in the half.
Both managers opted for two changes to their winning formula from their last fixtures. For Whitley Bay, Andrew Cartwright and Elliot Day came into the starting line-up. Chris Hughes opted to return Thomas Price to the fold, along with Billy Greulich-Smith who was rested in the midweek 6-0 win.
In what was a physical opening to the affair, an early Whitley Bay free kick offered a good opportunity for them to take an early lead. Josh Gilchrist stepped up and dipped his effort over the wall, but not under Mark Foden who held the ball.
The sharp movement of Spalding posed threat to Whitley Bay, an effort would have threatened Harrison Bond if not for a Michael Hall block – while Day put in a well-timed last ditch challenge to prevent the number seven from six-yards.
The resulting corner saw a well-worked routine which almost earned The Railwaymen the lead. Posthill played it short to Weirs, who rolled it back to his captain on the byline – the league’s leading goal-scorer aimed to turn provider with a lovely, floated ball towards the back post, a red shirt jumped highest, but the header whistled over the crossbar.
The game didn’t exactly spark into life from there, with the best chance for the remainder of the half seeing a point blank save by Bond. It wasn’t as though each side was playing negatively, a high number of fouls barely let the game flow and things just weren’t quite gelling at crucial moments for either sides offence.
Both sets of managers gave their players a clear talking to at half-time, with both coming out fighting. It was nearly a perfect start for the Bay when Lewis Suddick drove into the box from the right forcing Foden into a parry. Mark Davison lay in wait, and though it came at him quickly he’ll be disappointed not to turn his half-volley home from near the goalmouth.
With the game now full of life, a Shildon penalty followed shortly after. Posthill stepped up from 12-yards, looking to add to his 13-goal tally in the league. He would have to wait however, opting to fire his penalty down the middle where Bond stood firm to push the effort over.
Looking to breathe new life into the attack, Nick Gray utilised three forward-thinking subs in a five-minute span – but it was his opposition who would make the breakthrough, and they did so in a devastating manner.
Jon Weirs was on the end of a Shildon attack, forcing Bond into a full stretch save to push the ball behind for a corner. His reprieve would not last long, as Posthill curled his cross towards the near post where Ardelean made a smart run towards to nod home and break the stalemate.
From there, the floodgates began to open as Shildon put the sword to their opposition. Ardelean again the finisher for his and Shildon’s second, the Romanian curling one home. Luke Spalding added the third virtually straight after to send Dean Street into an eruption of noise.
Posthill finally got his goal as the clock approached 90. The Bay defence offered challenge as he worked his way into the box, but a meteor couldn’t have stopped the determined forward as he worked his way to the goalmouth before curling home from close range to cap off a phenomenal second-half display.
Shildon: Foden, Wade, Price, Allen, White, Vaulks, Spalding (Harris), Weirs, Ardelean (Reay), Greulich-Smith (Wearmouth), Posthill Subs: Banks, Herdman
Whitley Bay: Bond, Cartwright, Day, Turnbull, Hall, Neary, Suddick (Thomas), Ellison, Davison (Richardson), Gilchrist (Page), Storr (Brewis) Subs: Wilkinson