Seaham Red Star 2 Hebburn Town 5 – Ebac Northern League Division One

So far it’s been a tough season for Red Star who sat second bottom in the first division going into this game, but they played a lot better than the scoreline suggests – especially in the first half.

Hebburn were the better team and deserved the win, but a couple of defensive blunders by Seaham laid the game on a plate for the visitors.

After an untidy start by both teams, the game burst into life in the 15th minute when Red Star captain David Robinson turned a defender only to see his shot ricochet off the right post, with Hebburn keeper Andrew Jennison rooted to the spot.

That sparked a flurry of chances and shots by both teams but neither were given time and space on the ball with everyone being closed down quickly.

Hebburn took the lead in the 33rd minute when a Red Star defender mis-judged a cross-field ball which fell to Michael Richardson who took a touch and deftly volleyed it over Chris Bannon.  Red Star No. 9 Dan Wilson levelled it a minute before half-time when he turned a Hebburn defender and pulled his shot back across the goal, finding the bottom left.

The two goals were scored by the two best players on the pitch in the first half:  Richardson producing the best passes – delivered with vision and accuracy, while Wilson worked tirelessly, keeping the Hebburn back line busy.  Wilson almost gave the home team the lead in the 54th minute when, from an acute angle wide left, he flashed a shot across the Hebburn goal that Jennison could only push away for a corner.

Around the hour mark, two Hebburn goals within two minutes effectively took the game away from Seaham and sealed the win for the visitors.  Luke Sullivan took the ball with his back to goal but was allowed to turn and shoot, finding the gap between Bannon and the left post.  Seconds later Anth Myers brought Hebburn sub Graeme Armstrong down in the box, with the No. 12 converting the spot kick after he and Sullivan tussled for the ball to decide who should take the penalty.

Armstrong got his second in the 72nd minute after a dreadful back pass gifted the ball to Sullivan who rounded Bannon but couldn’t get the ball past the Seaham keeper.  Louise Storey picked up the ball that bounced clear from Bannon’s save and the No. 4 unselfishly passed it to Armstrong who made it 1-4.

Red Star didn’t throw in the towel and they made it 2-4 in the 75th minute when Robinson hit a pile driver that Jennison could only push on to the bar.  The ball spun out and sub Michael Chilton followed it in to head it into the net.

The last three minutes of normal time saw three chances:  Paul Chow hitting the post with a curling shot, a Robinson shot that swerved at the last minute but Jennison was able to see safely into his hands and then a shot by Robby Taylor that Jennison kept out with his feet as he fell back towards his goal.

Hebburn put the last nail in the coffin in the third minute of added time when Armstrong bagged his hat-trick, taking advantage of another poor back pass that went straight to the Hebburn man who made it 2-5.

It was just the kind of win that will given Hebburn bags of confidence going into their FA Vase match in a week’s time.  On this showing it wouldn’t be a surprise if Red Star started to turn their season around from here on in.  They just need to cut out the stupid errors at the back.

Mike Snowdon