Whitley Bay 1 Seaham Red Star 0 – Ebac Northern League Division One:

For once, football and the result weren’t the most important part of last night.  It was a night to remember Derek Breakwell – Whitley Bay secretary and my colleague on the League Management Committee – who passed away earlier this month.  A night for a minute’s applause before kick-off, players wearing black arm bands and the proceeds of programme sales going to Cancer Research UK.

He was a stalwart of the club as well as the league and the perfect example of volunteers in non-league football up and down the country.

No doubt he’d have been delighted with the three points but, more importantly, proud of the grit and determination his team showed, especially in the second half.  They needed it.

For the first half Seaham were the better team, while Whitley Bay looked out of synch.  Red Star should have taken the lead in the 9th minute.  Joe Hailes drilled a shot that came back off the post straight to Bradley Chisholm, but it came to him so quickly he couldn’t control his shot, which went wide with him only a couple of feet from goal.  Minutes later, the two Red Star players linked up again – Hailes hitting a cross to the near post but Chisholm couldn’t force the ball past Bay keeper Pat Nash.

Red Star kept pressing – Danny Sayer dragging a shot wide left, Nash getting a touch to a Thomas Bott shot and then Nathan O’Neill pulling a shot across the goal.  Their last chance fell to O’Neill who tried to lob the keeper after intercepting a back header by a defender, but he put the ball well over the bar.

Meanwhile, Bay’s first decent shot came in the 37th minute when Ben Richardson hit the ball straight at Seaham keeper Andy Jennison.  Malcolm Morien pushed the ball through to Harvey Neary but the Seaham defence was able to close him down before he could shoot and then Morien pulled a shot wide in the closing minutes of the half.

The home team were on the back foot from the off at the start of the second half – Cameron Brewis sent off for a tackle on Sayer.

A fellow groundhopper described the first half as niggly.  There were certainly plenty of fouls peppered across the whole game.  And it was a foul that ultimately decided the match – Daryll Donnelly leaning on a Bay attacker in the area.  The referee’s assistant flagged for a foul immediately and after consulting with him, the referee awarded the spot kick, converted by Morien.

For Red Star, right back Jordan Patterson produced their best shots, hitting a first time shot at Nash and then thumping a pile driver that Bay No. 5 Scott Lowery bravely got his head to.  Patterson’s third effort shaved the outside of the right hand post.

But despite being down to 10 men, Whitley Bay launched as many attacks as the visitors and kept pushing forward – Morien with a free kick sent wide left, Adam Hutchinon met a free kick with a header that flashed across the goal and then Jackson Ward tried to chip Jennison who was able to grab the ball.

Deep into time added on, Red Star substitute Bailey Judson was sent off after catching a Whitley Bay player on the shin, with the final chance falling to Whitley Bay – Hutchinson winning possession before running at the Red Star goal and finding Dan Lister who fired the ball wide.

A win for Whitley Bay.  A win for Derek.

If you’ve got some spare cash, please make a donation to UK Cancer Research.

Mike Snowdon