Single goal condemns Robins to defeat against Red Star

Ben Richardson on the ball for North Shields. Picture by Ian Warde.
Ben Richardson on the ball for North Shields. Picture by Ian Warde.
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The much anticipated clash between the division’s two most prolific sides was, almost predictably, decided by a sloppy strike as neither outfit displayed any of their attacking prowess.

An anticlimactic encounter saw the Seaham Red Star leapfrog North Shields to move into second place and dent the Robins’ unbeaten league tag.

The Shieldsmen sorely missed second top scorer Dan Smart as well as left sided defender John Grey on a day when Graham Fenton’s side struggled to find their trademark creativity.

As is the case virtually every campaign, the Robins’ record on the road is vastly superior to that on home soil as, so far, an away return of 12 points out of 12 compares to seven points dropped at the Daren Persson Stadium.

The much travelled Jamie Clarke netted a brace for Northallerton against the Tynesiders just weeks earlier and the big spending and much changed Seaham side paraded their new acquisition, who went on to grab the decisive goal.

Shields assistant boss Andy Bowman said: “We were the better team in the first half but couldn’t get in front.

“I’m disappointed that we never really got going after the break as we weren’t passing the ball with any positivity.

“It’s only one defeat though and the test in football is how you react in your next game.”

Seaham keeper Shaun Newbrook made an early touch to deny Robins’ 15-goal man Gareth Bainbridge, whilst at the other end Tom English tested home custodian Michael Robinson.

Bainbridge then found more space and saw another fine effort deflected behind, whilst Newbrook kept out a low shot from Kieran Wrightson and, following some fantastic skill from Adam Forster, was relieved to see an Adam Scope drive drift agonisingly past the post.

For the visitors, centre half and skipper Chris McCabe nodded a corner kick just adrift of the upright and David Palmer blazed over the bar.

It appeared a goalless 45 minutes was on the cards but, after Newbrook saved smartly, the ball broke to the other end and a defensive misunderstanding coupled with uncharacteristic misjudgment from Robinson saw Clarke presented with an empty net.

As the second period unwound, Bainbridge turned well but fired over and Newbrook saved low down from Ben Richardson with Seaham showing limited offensive flair, content purely to preserve their lead.

Robinson was called upon to bravely rush out of goal to thwart Clarke, then came up to add extra presence in the Seaham area as they frantically survived a couple of late free kicks, but time ran out for the hosts.

North Shields: M Robinson, Donnison, Elliott, Richardson, Parker, Hughes, Scope (P Robinson 81), Forster, Bainbridge, Wrightson (Douglas 71), Walker. Subs not used: Hook, Mbiavanga, Courtney.

North Shields go to the Station Road ground in Norton on Saturday (3pm) in search of their first ever point against the Teessiders, such is their dire sequence of results versus the Ancients since 2004.

Subsequent fixtures are: Wednesday, October 9, Morpeth Town, away, Northumberland Senior Cup, 7.30pm; Saturday, October 12, Tow Law Town, home, 3pm; Wednesday, October 16, Brandon United, away, 7.30pm; Saturday, October 19, Crook Town, home, FA Vase, 3pm; Tuesday, October 22, Alnwick Town, away, 7.30pm.