|skilltrainingltd League Division One||191|
|Wednesday 22nd April 2009||Whitley Bay V Seaham Red Star||5-1|
Match Report By Julian Tyley
Whitley delighted their fans on Wednesday evening with a devastating display during the opening half hour when they scored four goals including a hat trick in an eight minute spell from Lee Kerr, his second such feat in consecutive league games.
On a calm and clear evening, Whitley included youngsters Chris Reid, Callum Anderson, Darren Reay and Simon Reay in their starting line up against a Seaham side that were in desperate need of points to avoid relegation.
Whitley looked comfortably in control early on but there was no indication of the goal rush that was about to begin. Seaham’s problems began in the 11th minute when Simon Reay was tripped some 25 yards from goal, beyond the left hand edge of the penalty area. It was just within range for Lee Kerr and he curled the free kick with superb accuracy into the top corner at the near post, leaving teenage keeper Joshua Moody clutching the air as the ball sailed into the net. A brief counter attack by Seaham ended with Andrew Richardson driving a long range shot well over the bar.
Chris Moore was easily outpacing his marker down the Whitley right and with 17 minutes on the clock, he cut in and sent a low cross into the goalmouth. The ball was deflected by the boot of unlucky defender Robert Bettson and Kerr had the simplest of tasks in tapping the ball into the net from three yards out. Two minutes later Moore again broke clear and crossed the ball beyond the Seaham defence to Kerr who volleyed a tremendous shot off the underside of the bar and just across the line to complete a whirlwind hat trick. A curious statistic is that exactly one year ago to the day, Lee also scored a hat trick, in the 5-1 victory at Billingham Synthonia.
Moore was enjoying the freedom of the right wing and moments later crossed the ball again and this time Leon Ryan got his head to it but the ball flew narrowly past the post. Seaham could not cope with Whitley in this mood and after 24 minutes, yet another goal was set up by Moore when his cross into the six yard box was volleyed home by Darren Reay to make the score 4-0.
It was beginning to look as if Whitley could run up a cricket score against their shell shocked visitors but to their credit, Seaham fought back and Richardson forced Terry Burke to push a dipping cross shot over the bar on the half hour.
Chris Fawcett had a header saved from Moore’s cross before returning the compliment, when a move from Darren Reay saw Fawcett put Moore clear but Moody made the save. Right on half time, Kerr raced a way on the left and almost added a fifth, but his shot hit the bar much to the relief of the Seaham side.
Seven minutes into the second half, Moore deservedly got his name on the score sheet when his shot from the edge of the area deflected off the toe of Bettson and flew past Moody to make the score 5-0.
The game was by now over as a contest and Ian Chandler took the opportunity to take off defenders Leon Ryan and Mark Taylor with an eye on tougher games to come. Whitley remained well on top and playing with a relaxed freedom they might have added further goals but did not do so.
With just three minutes left on the clock, Seaham pulled a goal back when a cross from the right was headed beyond Burke into the bottom corner of the net by Kyle Bird.
The three points lifted Whitley two places up the table to fourth position, keeping them in with a chance of claiming the title. Even at this late stage of the season there is still everything to play for as there are still several games to be played between sides in the top six, starting with Whitley’s next game at leaders Spennymoor Town this weekend.
A remarkable haul of 20 goals in their last five league games sees Whitley at the top of the goal scoring table and needing just seven more from their last five games to top 100 for the season. Lee Kerr is in outstanding form but he will have to sit out the next three games as the suspension for his Lowestoft red card begins this weekend.
Their defeat almost certainly consigns Seaham to relegation, having struggled at the foot of the table throughout the season.
WHITLEY BAY: Burke, Taylor(Chow 65mins), Reid, Anderson, Coulson, Ryan(Bell 52mins), Moore, Fawcett, Kerr, S Reay(McMullen 46mins), D Reay