3:11pm Friday 29th November 2013
A SECOND-HALF goal from in-form Colin Anderson last Saturday saw Town pick up a hard earned point against fellow- promotion challengers Seaham Red Star.
Anderson struck in the 51st minute to give Town a lead they had fully deserved. But Star skipper Chris McCabe headed an equaliser 15 minutes later and it finished with honours even.
“That is one point gained without a shadow of a doubt,”
said Town boss Peter Mulcaster at the whistle. “It was an absolutely brilliant game between two good sides and it could have gone either way.
“The last ten minutes was very nervy. We missed a chance, they went up the other end and missed a chance.”
Mulcaster made three changes to the side that had won well in the cup at South Shields the previous midweek.
Stephen Banks and James Howlett both returned to the back four, with Mark Hemingway switching from centre back to his preferred position of left back.
Meanwhile captain Gavin Parkin reclaimed the armband in midfield with Darren Kokes moving up front to replace Richie Playforth, who has decided to go back to his former club Redcar Athletic.
There was drama before off the pitch before kick off as referee Peter Osgood deemed that Seaham’s red and white shirts clashed with Town’s burgundy kit, so after a mad dash to Hebburn for the Star secretary to collect a white kit, the game finally started five minutes late.
Seaham started well and with former Northallerton striker Jamie Clarke leading their attack, they threatened early on.
But Town began to settle and probably just shaded a tight first half. Twice Kokes came close to making the breakthrough while Mikey Stevens then tested home goalkeeper Shaun Newbrook from 25 yards.
Seaham’s best efforts were a Michael McKeown free kick midway through the half that Jordan Aspinall did well to tip over the crossbar, before the Town goalkeeper then denied David Palmer.
The best chance however, fell to Anderson in the 42nd minute. After wriggling clear down the right his low shot was deflected onto the outside of the post by the legs of the sprawling Newbrook.
But in first half stoppage time, Seaham might have gained the initiative. Clarke broke through from halfway and looked odds-on to score but he took his shot early and Aspinall was able to save.
However, Town started the second half on the front foot and could have scored twice in the opening two minutes.
Kokes was denied by Newbrook after a lovely ball over the top from Anderson within 30 seconds of the restart, while the Seaham ‘keeper then did even better to shovel a Banks’ drive over the top.
But the goal was not long in coming. Just six minutes of the second half had elapsed when Parkin’s rather scuffed effort from 20 yards fell to Anderson who made no mistake with a low drive to Newbrook’s right.
Seaham, who had won their previous five matches, responded well and enjoyed a good 15 minutes spell midway through the half to haul themselves level. Carl Thorp saw a header saved by Aspinall on the hour but the Town goalkeeper was helpless to prevent the equaliser just six minutes later.
Substitute Shaun Reay was initially denied by Welshman but when McCabe’s follow up header came back off the crossbar, the Seaham skipper reacted quickly to nod past Banks on the line.
Town were rocked back on their haunches and Star sensed victory but some superb defending from Mulcaster’s men saw them ride the storm and it was in fact the visitors that finished the game strongly.
Grant Hickman had the ball in the net 20 minutes from time but referee Osgood had already blown for a push, while Dale Elgie and Danny McLachlan also came close to a late winner.
Meanwhile at the other end, Clarke would have loved to have got one over on his former teammates and he almost did so right at the death only to see his acrobatic attempt blocked by Dale Elgie as it finished 1-1.
“Seaham are one of the favourites for promotion so it is a fantastic result for us and a great performance from one to eleven,” said Mulcaster.
“The young goalkeeper played his second game for us today and did exceptionally well. Mark Hemingway came in at left full back and was man of the match for me. But from one to eleven they were absolute stars today.
“In fact I am so delighted with the lads that I might even go and buy them a drink.”
The busy schedule continues as following a midweek League Cup trip to West Allotment Celtic, Town face another promotion six-pointer at home to Norton and Stockton Ancients tomorrow. Kick off at the Calvert Stadium is 3pm and usual prices apply.
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