SEAHAM RED STAR 1 WHITLEY BAY 2
Saturday 9th September
Two goals from Lewis Suddick, one in each half, earned Whitley a narrow victory on a hot afternoon at Seaham.
The home side had the better of the first half but could not capitalise on their opportunities and although they drew level shortly after the interval, Suddick struck again decisively to send the visiting fans home happy.
Seaham looked lively from the start and went close in the eighth minute when a shot from Dart just cleared the bar.
A break in play due to a Seaham injury allowed time for both sides to take on water as the temperature soared. Whitley’s first attempt on goal came when Harvey Neary struck a long range effort too high to trouble Jennison. Two minutes later Mark Davison, returning from injury, poked a half chance into the keeper’s hands.
The best chance of the game so far came with 28 minutes played when a ball was played in from the right by Jones but Burnicle, in front of goal, missed a glorious chance when at full stretch, he poked it wide.
Bond then made a good save to keep out the hosts as they continued to press forward. However, somewhat against the run of play, Whitley took the lead in the 36th minute when the ball was played through to Suddick on the Bay left and from just inside the box he rifled a fine shot beyond Jennison into the far corner of the net.
The goal stunned Red Star and for a while, Whitley successfully played possession football, conserving energy as the half drew to a close.
Just before the break, Matty Weirs took the ball round Jennison and slotted it into the net only to see the assistant with his flag raised for offside.
They may have felt unfortunate to be behind at the interval, but within five minutes of the restart, Seaham drew level. Following an early attempt from Neary that Jennison saved comfortably, the home side attacked down the right and when the ball was played into the box, the defence which had looked secure up to this point, allowed space for Chisholm in front of goal to slide the ball home.
There was more urgency in Whitley’s play in the second half and a good move down the left was halted when Gilchrist was brought down five yards outside the box. Taking the free kick himself, he curled it inches wide of the far post.
Three minutes later Suddick was tripped a similar distance from goal on the opposite flank but the resultant free kick came to nothing.
The game was evenly balanced and both sides made good use of their substitutes in the final half hour of the game. Whitley’s first change proved crucial as within two minutes of being brought on, Evan Wilkinson made a run down the left and combined with Gilchrist before delivering a great ball into the box where Suddick volleyed it home left footed from 12 yards, giving Jennison absolutely no chance.
With both teams tiring in the heat, the pace of the game inevitably slowed but Seaham kept searching for a second equaliser while Whitley, after last week’s late goal denied them victory, looked to but the result beyond doubt with a third goal. It all made for an exciting climax with action continuing at both ends. Harvey Neary made a crucial goal line clearance with nine minutes remaining then with time running out, Suddick might have completed a memorable hat trick but his shot was saved by Jennison.
Neither side could find another goal and it was Whitley who ran out winners but with all of the top six sides winning, they remain in fourth place in the table.
WHITLEY BAY: Bond, Neary, Cartwright(Wilkinson 65mins), Turnbull, Hall, Richardson(Millington 69mins), Suddick, Ellison(Phillips 69mins), Davison (Cunningham 84mins), Weirs, Gilchrist
Substitute not used: Lister
Cautions: Hall, Weirs
Referee: Kevin McKitterick