Whitley Bay come from behind to win at Seaham Red Star

Liam Hudson (No. 7) heads home Whitley Bay's first goal at Seaham Red Star.

Liam Hudson (No. 7) heads home Whitley Bay's first goal at Seaham Red Star.

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Whitley Bay twice came from behind to claim all three points at mid-table Seaham Red Star, who were captained by former Hillheads star Lee Kerr.

The visitors made a poor start and went a goal behind in the third minute due to sloppy defending.

Dan Robinson was allowed to cut in from the right and when he played the ball across goal, Liam McBryde was left unmarked at the back post to open the scoring.

Whitley fought back and equalised six minutes later after Alex Kempster had been tripped close to the left corner flag. Mark Bertram floated the free kick into the goalmouth where Liam Hudson leapt above the Star defence to plant a header just inside the near post, beyond the reach of keeper Shaun Newbrook.

Almost immediately McBryde attempted to lob Dan Gladstone, starting in place of the injured Andy Jennison, but the ball cleared the bar.

Adam Shanks headed over from a cross by Chris McDonald before another piece of weak Bay defending saw Seaham regain the lead on 34 minutes.

Having lost possession in midfield, Whitley allowed the home side to run at them and the ball was played down the middle and Robinson went clear on before slotting past Gladstone.

Again Whitley fought back and once again the equaliser was earned by Kempster. Cutting in from the left, he was clumsily tripped as ex-Bay defender Daryll Donnelly lunged in with a mistimed tackle ten yards from goal. It was a clear cut penalty and Shanks comfortably beat Newbrook from the spot to level the score and send the sides in all square at the interval.

Seven minutes after the restart, new Bay signing, defender Stuart Bramley, did well to prevent Robinson getting a shot on target, forcing the Seaham striker to miscue his shot which went high and wide.

Whenever they went forward, Whitley looked to have the beating of the home defence and attacking down both wings they posed an increasing threat.

At the other end Seaham wasted what limited opportunities came their way, with Gardiner guilty when he blazed the ball over the bar and out of the ground when he should at least have tested Gladstone.

As it was, the young Bay keeper had few shots to save, and despite having to contend with the dazzle of a low sun, he performed competently when he was called into action.

Into the final quarter hour, Kris Hughes had a shot deflected past the post and when Bertram played the corner kick into the goalmouth, Shanks rose to head home what proved to be the winner with 12 minutes remaining.

Seaham’s response lacked conviction and Whitley safely saw out the remainder of the game to pick up the points and move further up the table.

While it was not a classic display, Whitley certainly deserved their victory after a battling performance despite being significantly under strength with injuries to several key players.

Whitley Bay: Gladstone, Lumsden, McDonald, Anderson (Bell 84), Laws, Bramley, Hudson (Norris 71), Bertram, Shanks, Hughes, Kempster. Subs not used: Richardson, Day, Williamson.

Delighted with the three points, Whitley Bay manager Paddy Atkinson said: “I keep saying it every week, we’ve got a good set of lads and I don’t have to question them about when we’re going forward.

“It was in defence where we had problems in the first half. For their first goal we didn’t switch on, but then we went forward and scored a really good goal and you could see Liam Hudson’s power with that header. That’s three goals he’s scored for us now in two games.

“At half-time I had to have words about our defending. We were being too nice and tidy, trying to bring the ball down then take a touch, and then sometimes we lost possession, so I said to them, ‘Just keep it simple. Don’t concede in the second half and we’ll win,’ and of course that’s what happened.

“We battled well, but I’m still looking at the energy level in some of the players.

“What happens when you go on a good cup run playing against good opposition is you get little niggles and injuries, and I’ve asked the players to take personal responsibility for their fitness because with games every Saturday and Tuesday we haven’t got recovery time to get over injuries.

“It’s not so bad for the youngsters but it’s harder for the older lads, which is why I kept some players back so they’d have fresh legs for Tuesday.

“We’ve got good strength in depth, we haven’t got superstars but a good set of lads.”

Midfielder Alex Kempster came in for special praise from his manager.

“Alex was tremendous, he had a really good game,” he said.

“That’s what I like about Alex, he just keeps going and going, it’s the same with Liam Hudson, he’s really strong.”

The manager also praised the performance and fitness level of Phil Lumsden.

“He had a great game,” he said.

The boss revealed that there was encouraging news about goalkeeper Andy Jennison, who broke a bone in his hand against Shildon in midweek.

“Andy’s injury is probably not as bad as we first thought,” he said.

“He has to visit the fracture clinic this week but is hopeful that he won’t be out for as long as he’d feared.

“But I’m still looking to bring another keeper in. That’s not any fault of Dan [Gladstone]. He had a decent game today but with so many games coming up we just need that extra cover.”