|Arngrove Northern League Division One||143|
|Saturday 23rd February 2008||Seaham Red Star V Whitley Bay||0-1|
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Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley gained a valuable but hard earned victory at a windswept Seaham Town Park on Saturday. This was never going to be a classic given the difficult conditions but even without the suspended David Coulson, Whitley's defensive strength was clear to see as Seaham failed to score for only the second time in the league all season.
Seaham opted to play with the strong wind at their backs in the first half and they quickly took advantage of the conditions and with barely three minutes gone David Anderson swung a free kick from the left across goal and the wind blew it onto the top of the bar and behind for a goal kick. Play was largely confined to the Whitley half in the opening stages but when Chris Moore broke away down the right his cross was headed behind by a defender.
Keeping the ball on the ground was essential to keep it under control and that was well illustrated in the 16th minute when Whitley scored the crucial goal with their first shot on target. When the ball was crossed from wide on the right, Paul Robinson side stepped two defenders in the penalty area before drilling a low shot into the corner of the net beyond the reach of keeper Keith Finch.
Seaham replied with Halliday testing Terry Burke with a low shot that the Bay keeper saved comfortably. Both sides struggled in the difficult conditions and scoring chances were at a premium. Just past the half hour, Neil Moan wasted a good chance for the home side when he headed wide when in front of goal, then four minutes later, a corner kick was caught in the wind and hit the top of the bar.
Just before the interval, Whitley countered with two attacks. Firstly Lee Kerr broke away but was forced wide by a defender. His shot across the face of goal only needed a finishing touch but there was no other Bay player on hand and the ball ran into touch. Moments later Mark Minto raced through from midfield but his pass unluckily hit Paul Chow and ran through to the keeper.
After the interval, Whitley had the wind behind them and a long goal kick cleared the home defence but although Lee Kerr was alert to the situation, his shot flew over the bar when he should at least have tested Finch. Seaham were playing well despite the conditions and the Whitley defence was put under considerable pressure but Brian Rowe, captain for the day in the absence of David Coulson, was in outstanding form, winning virtually every challenge.
After Seahamís Andy Appleby was denied an equaliser by an offside flag, Robinson got a shot on target for Whitley midway through the half. Then with 15 minutes to go, former Bay player Craig Price brought a great save from Burke which had the player himself applauding.
In the closing stages Kerr troubled the Seaham defence with a good ball across the face of goal which was just beyond the reach of Chow. He then struck a great shot inches wide from a long ball pumped upfield by Burke.
Despite more than six minutes of added time, Seaham could not find an equaliser and it was Whitley who took all three points to make it four wins in a row.
WHITLEY BAY Burke, Taylor, Woodhouse, Rowe, Graham(Picton 65mins), Robson, Moore(Douglas 55mins), Minto, Chow, Kerr, Robinson(Cook 88mins)