SEAHAM RED STAR 1 WHITLEY BAY 1
Tuesday 4th October
A tremendous goal from Lewis Orrell deep into stoppage time rescued a point for Whitley at bottom of the table Seaham Red Star.
An increasingly wet evening on the County Durham coast looked set to end in major disappointment for Nick Gray’s team as they struggled to overcome a spirited and determined Seaham side who on the basis of this performance appear to be in a false position and will soon be climbing the table.
After a quiet opening, Seaham were the first to get a shot on target, when Dan Lister had to dive low to his left to collect a shot from the edge of the box that threatened to creep inside the post.
In contrast to their flowing football of recent games, Whitley were struggling to string passes together and it took them until the 25th minute to create their first meaningful chance, when Scott Lowery headed wide from Ben Richardson’s right wing corner. Two minutes later, Josh Gilchrist, restored to the starting eleven for this game, sent a speculative shot wide of goal. Just before the half hour Whitley thought they had broken the deadlock when Cameron Brewis slotted home after being played through by a neat pass from Gilchrist but the goal was ruled out by what can only be described as a marginal offside decision.
Seaham looked the hungrier side and pressed forward again, forcing Whitley to put the ball behind for a corner in order to relieve the pressure after a sustained attack.
In the 39th minute, a ball played into the box from the right by Red Star was parried by Lister but slotted home from close range by Josh Baggs. Amid some confusion, there was a lengthy delay while the referee consulted his assistant on the far side of the field. Reminiscent of VAR at the top level of the game, players and spectators alike were kept waiting for the outcome. Eventually a yellow card was shown to Stephen Turnbull and the goal was given.
Seaham were certainly good value for their lead at the interval while Whitley had been a pale shadow of the side that had gone unbeaten in their last ten outings.
On the restart, Sean Taylor, who had picked up an injury before the break, was replaced by Bailey Geliher.
The pattern of play for the second half was one of Seaham content to hold on to their lead and defending in depth, leaving Whitley to try and find a way through. The home side were quick to close down any attacking move and frustrate Whitley by denying them time on the ball.
Turnbull fired over the bar from a corner then when they eventually cut through the home defence, Richardson’s free kick crashed off the post and the ball rebounded away from goal.
There was a delay when the referee pulled up with a calf injury but he was able to continue after treatment. Another hold up in play took place with 15 minutes remaining when after a fracas near the touchline, the officials were involved in lengthy discussions, with both sides eventually having a player cautioned.
The disruptions worked to Seaham’s advantage as Whitley were unable to build any momentum and as the rain which had been falling since half time became heavier, passes frequently went astray on the greasy surface. When they did find a way though, they were thwarted several times by questionable offside rulings.
With time running out, it began to look as if their long unbeaten run was coming to an end but this Whitley side never gives up and with three minutes left, Brewis got in a shot that flew just wide. Five minutes into added time, an offside flag was again raised, denying Shanks a shot on goal but then one minute later, persistence finally paid off when Lewis Orrell struck a tremendous shot from just outside the box and the ball flew beyond the reach of keeper Andrew Jennison into the corner of the net. The celebrations among the Bay players and fans were as much of relief as joy at having finally broken the dogged resistance of the home side.
The point gained was not enough to regain top spot in the table but left Whitley a single point behind leaders Bishop Auckland.
WHITLEY BAY: Lister, Irons(Patterson 62mins) Porritt(Orrell 80mins) Turnbull. Hall, Lowery, Taylor(Geliher 46mins), Richardson(Morien 80mins) Brewis, Gilchrist(Shanks 62mins)
Cautions: Irons, Turnbull, Shanks
Referee: Barry Tones