Saturday, 23 November 2013

Anderson on target again as Town produce a (Red) Star performance

By Ricky Butler at Seaham Town Park

Highlights of this game can be viewed here

A SECOND half strike from in-form Colin Anderson saw Town pick up a hard earned point on Saturday against fellow-promotion challengers Seaham Red Star.

Anderson, with five goals from his previous eight appearances, 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. It was a great game to watch."

Mulcaster made three changes to the side that had won well in 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 Gav 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 off the pitch before kick off as referee Peter Osgood deemed that Seaham's red and white shirts clashed with Town's burgundy number, so after a mad dash to Hebburn for the Star secretary to collect a white kit, the game finally started five minutes late.

Seaham, who began the day two places and two points better off than Town, started well and with former Northallerton striker Jamie Clarke leading their attack, they threatened early on.

But Town began 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 came close with a Michael McKeown free kick midway through the half that Jordan Aspinall did well to tip over the crossbar, before the Town 'keeper 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.

Town were not supplied with any refreshments during the interval, the second away game in a row where this has happened, but it did not seem to affect them too much as they could have scored twice in the opening two minutes of the second half.

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.

But 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!

"After this week we only have one more night game which is great as it means we can get on the training pitch. There are one or two things we want to have a look at but it also means we can relax a little bit."

The busy schedule continues with that midweek League Cup trip to West Allotment Celtic before another promotion six-pointer at home to Norton & Stockton Ancients next Saturday.

SEAHAM RED STAR - Newbrook, Maltby, Short, Thorp, McCabe, Donnelly, Palmer, McKeown, Clarke, Winter, Richmond. SUBS - Reay, Allen, Gray, Laidler, Graham.

1. Aspinall - Another solid display between the sticks. Made some good saves and could do nothing about the goal that finally beat him. 8/10

2. Banks - The boss calls him Mr Consistent and it is easy to see why. Does his job with the minimum of fuss and produced another solid display. 8/10

3. Hemingway - After a great debut at centre back in midweek, Mark produced an even better performance at left back. Won his tackles and his use of the ball was exceptional at times. Possibly the best player on the pitch. 9/10

4. Hickman - Kept Clarke quiet throughout and still managed to look dangerous from set pieces. Unlucky to see a late effort ruled out. 8/10

5. Howlett - In a defence that was excellent throughout, Jagger typified it with a solid performance. Made very few mistakes and kept things simple. 8/10

6. Parkin - Perhaps not at his best but still played a captain's role with a hard working performance that inspired those around him. 7/10

7. Anderson - A full back's nightmare. Never gives defenders a minutes' peace. Took his goal well and was threat throughout. If Town were going to get a late winner, Col certainly looked the most likely to get it. 8/10

8. Elgie - Ran Hemingway close for man of the match. One of his best games in a Town shirt and even came close to winning it at the death. 9/10

9. Kokes - May not have got on the score-sheet but must have covered every blade of grass. Unlucky twice in the first half and then denied by the goalkeeper early in the second. 8/10

10. McLachlan - Another who worked his socks off but it is just not happening in front of goal for him at the moment. Only denied by a great last-ditch tackle in the second half.  Needs one to go in off his backside. 7/10

11. Stevens - Has settled in to life in the Northern League really well and used his pace to great effect at times. Certainly offers a great outlet down the left and is not afraid to track back and help out his full back. 7/10


12. Caygill - Was brought on for the final 10 minutes in the hope of grabbing a late winner and stretched the Seaham defence on a number of occasions. Like Macca however, it is not happening in front of goal for him although no one can question his endeavour. 7/10

14. Colman - Was again unused. N/A

REFEREE - P. Osgood


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