A goal in the last minute from Ombeni Ruhanduka saw Bridlington Town claim a fantastic FA Cup replay win at Whitley Bay, but this victory was about a real team effort led by captain Tom Fleming who only arrived at the ground with minutes to spare.
Three changes were made because injury and unavailability including Benn Lewis who dropped out shortly before kick-off. Local boy Josh Heseltine made his first competitive appearance of the season coming in for Nathan White while Jamie Reeson and Danny Smith replaced Craig Hogg and Lewis
Town more than held their own in the opening exchanges with Reeson having a delayed effort blocked and Smith firing past a post.
Steve Buzzeo sent a 25-yard strike a yard wide for the hosts and James Whittingham headed clear from Alex Kempster while Adam Nicholson collected the ball when a Whitley Bay chance went begging in the six-yard box.
The home side were forced to make a change after 20 minutes when an injury led to Callum Anderson being replaced by Jonny Godsmark.
Following two fouls on Duka in a matter of seconds by Buzzeo, Chris Jenkinson’s low free kick from 30 yards was just held by goalkeeper Mark Cook.
Kempster stabbed the ball wide after Nicholson lost possession then the goalkeeper atoned with a fine save, tipping round from Paul Chow.
Town regained their momentum after a spell of Whitley pressure with Fleming sending his attempt wide of goal.
At the beginning of the second half, Bay captain Mike Laws was lucky to escape a card after clattering Duka.
Jenkinson cleared from Godsmark and Nicholson came out to kick clear from the substitute as he closed in.
Referee James Simpson annoyed the Town contingent by awarding them free kicks on four occasions when an advantage could have been played.
Steve Foster hit the Town bar with a header from a Kempster corner then Birch could have been cautioned for a foul Foster.
Whitley Bay started to exert some pressure and Fleming got back to concede a corner and at the other end Duka looped the ball over the top after winning it back Liam Harris.
Laws finally went into the referee’s book after tripping Fleming as he made a decisive run forward towards the home penalty area.
The Seasiders began to press again and Whittingham forced Cook into a save while Birch shot wide from outside the area. Cook cut out a Fleming run and cross and Harris made a good tackle to stop Whittingham running clear from Duka’s pass.
Ryan Nicholls played the ball forward to sub Paul Wray who struck the bar from out on the right then Nicholls went into the book for fouling Chris McDonald.
The game entered the final minutes with the home side pressing and as extra-time loomed, Chow missed a header and Godsmark shot wide while Nicholson again kicked clear as Chow threatened.
Robbie Bird was the third player booked for a foul on Smith before the game was decided in the final minute. Bird’s shot from the right of the area beat Nicholson and struck the inside of the post.
While the Whitley players were claiming a goal, the ball was cleared up field for Duka to send an effort goalwards and although Cook got a touch he couldn’t prevent it from rolling over the line.
There was still time for Kempster to hit the woodwork but Town held on for a well-deserved victory.