TWO goals in the last three minutes earned Whitley Bay a deserved victory at Seaham Red Star in their latest pre-season friendly.
Saturday’s contest was in marked contrast to the 2-1 win at North Shields three days earlier as spectators basked in warm sunshine.
The first half produced no goals although Whitley twice had the ball in the net and enjoyed the better of the game against their second division opponents, who under their new management team were fielding a completely changed side from the one that struggled last season.
Bay thought they had taken the lead when the Seaham keeper appeared to drop the ball in the goalmouth and Paul Chow, pictured, tapped it into the net, but the referee ruled there had been an infringement.
After 21 minutes an excellent through ball from Lee Kerr found Chow in space and he fired the ball home only to see his effort ruled out by a tight offside decision.
Whitley were creating plenty of openings with Denver Morris and Lee Owens using the width of the pitch to good effect but the final ball was lacking accuracy.
After the interval, Seaham looked more lively and might have gone ahead within three minutes but the ball was fired wide with only Kyle Hayes to beat.
Whitley soon made a series of substitutions, including the first appearance since February of David Coulson, who was injured in the FA Vase defeat by West Auckland.
Midway through the second half Seaham took the lead when Coulson could not reach a ball over the top and after a shot from out on the right flew across the face of goal, Kevin Gordon slid the ball home from an acute angle at the far post.
The lead lasted only five minutes with Kerr slotting home the equaliser from close range after Owens’ low cross from the right was not cut out by the Seaham defence.
The warm conditions seemed to be affecting the home side more than Whitley in the closing stages with the game being played mostly in the Seaham half.
Three minutes from time, Owens, who had worked hard and shown good skill, rounded off a neat Bay move, turning quickly inside the penalty area to fire a first time effort low into the corner of the net.
Two minutes later, a corner played short by Owens saw Kerr put Paul Robinson clear on the left and his shot into the goalmouth was cleared by a defender but the ball had already crossed the line and a goal was signalled by the assistant.
All in all a useful workout with encouraging signs for the Hillheads outfit.
Whitley Bay: Hayes, Anderson, McFarlane, Fairley, Donnelly, Owens, Morris, Scroggins, Kerr, Chow, Anzevui. Subs: Coulson, Walker, Robinson, McMullen.