By Harry Salkeld
WHITLEY BAY 1 SEAHAM RED STAR 0
Thursday 26th January
Three hard-fought points were earned against a stubborn Seaham defence.
After a fantastic three points away at Penrith, the Bay were back at Hillheads Park to take on Seaham Red Star.
Team news saw only one change to the win at Penrith and that was Pat Nash replacing Dan Lister between the sticks.
Before kick-off there was plenty of intermittent rain which carried on throughout the evening.
A minute’s applause was held before kick-off in loving memory of Derek Breakwell who will be sadly missed by everyone involved with the club.
The game started frenetically with the Bay struggling to maintain possession of the ball for long periods of time.
The Bay gradually grew into the game and 6 minutes in, some great passing football saw Malcolm Morien’s cross just sail over the head of Cameron Brewis. Minutes later, Joseph Hailes pulled the trigger from distance for the opponents, but his effort hit the post and went out for a goal-kick.
In the 21st minute, Seaham had a great opportunity when their corner landed to the feet of Jordan Patterson, with space around him you would have expected him to get his shot on target, it was drilled wide of the post to the delight of the Bay fans.
In the 37th the Bay’s first shot on target came when Ben Richardson’s long-range effort was comfortably caught by the keeper. Seaham pounced and started a well worked counterattack. With the ball at the feet of Nathan O’Neill he attempted an audacious lob that would have been successful if on target, as Pat Nash came out to greet him. Luckily the attempt went over the bar.
The whistle went for what had been a somewhat quiet first-half for the spectators.
The second half started in the worst possible fashion for the hosts as Cameron Brewis was sent off in the 47th minute for a challenge on Daniel Slayer.
Despite the set-back, that didn’t stop the Bay. They created many good opportunities, and they were rewarded when a penalty was given. The referee originally didn’t give a foul however his assistant did. The only big question was if it was committed in the penalty area and after a discussion between the referee and the assistant referee the penalty was given to the delight of the standing support near the goal.
Malcolm Morien stepped up take to the penalty and he coolly sent the ball into bottom left corner, making Andrew Jennison dive the wrong way.
Pressure was mounting on the Bay defence and in the 66th minute they had their backs against the wall. Scott Lowery heroically threw himself to the ground on two occasions to block the efforts from the Seaham forward-line.
The first substitution of the night came when Ben Richardson made way for Lewis Orrell in the 72nd minute and 5 minutes later, the visitors made a triple substitution.
Bay substitute, Jackson Ward, found himself one on one with keeper in the dying seconds of the 90 minutes but the Seaham keeper had a strong right hand to keep the difference at one.
Seaham were still pushing for the equaliser when the announcement was made that there would be five minutes of additional time.
In the 92nd minute Adam Patterson came off for Dan Lister who made his second outfield appearance off the season so far. Minutes later, Seaham substitute, Bailey Judson, was given a red card for a tackle on Harvey Neary.
With minutes left of the game, a committed Dan Lister had a shot from outside the box. His effort went to the right of the post with power and force. Excitement reverberated around the stadium for what would have been a truly fantastic way to seal all three points.
All the Bay fans who had come to support their team were joyfully relieved at the sound of the referee’s full-time whistle.
It was a fantastic second half performance from the lads in blue and white. They didn’t take the Cameron Brewis red card as an invitation to sit back and defend for the rest of the game instead they used it as encouragement to go and attack at their opponents and win the game.
It’s a sign of a great football team when you get a player sent off and completely flip a game on its head. The Bay defence absorbed most of the pressure in the first half. However, after the pivotal 47th minute it all changed, with the Bay winning what could be a huge game in our challenge for the title.
WHITLEY BAY: Nash, Patterson(Lister 92mins), Hall, Lowery, Day, Turnbull, Richardson(Orrell 72mins), Neary, Brewis, Morien(Ward 77mins), Porritt(Hutchinson 83mins)
Cautions: Brewis(Red Card), Lowery, Hall
Referee: Jordan Nicholson
Assistant Referees: Isaac Woodward and Keith Jopling