Whickham narrowly defeated 10-man Seaham Red Star 1-0 at home, in Tony Fawcett’s first game in charge of the Lang Jacks WRITES BEN ROBINSON.
Scott Robson broke the deadlock for the home side, smashing the ball in from an uncleared corner seven minutes into the game.
The visiting manager Mark Colllingwood was then sent off after a dispute with the linesman early into the second-half.
The hosts missed a big chance to double their lead through Mark Fitzpatrick after he broke free inside the area with 10 minutes remaining.
Red Star were then also a man down in the last minute of additional time when Thomas Bott was shown a straight red for swearing at the referee.
Both sides had opposite form coming into the game with Whickham having only one win since August, meanwhile Seaham had only two defeats in their last 12 fixtures.
The hosts started brightly, with Zak Atkinson driving a shot from tight angle straight at the ‘keeper following a long pass from Michael Hoganson.
Robson then smashed the ball into the bottom corner, from just inside the area to give his side the lead after The Star failed to clear a Hoganson corner.
James Anderson was tested for the first time 25 minutes in when a looping header from a wide free-kick that needed to be tipped over by the Whickham shot-stopper.
Andrew Jennison then denied Scott Jasper a goal on his debut 7 minutes later, as the forward’s volley was saved by the ‘keepers legs following Atkinson’s through ball.
Seaham boss Mark Collingwood was then shown a red card six minutes into the second-half for a verbal dispute with the linesman.
Joseph Hailes came close for Red Star just after the hour-mark, heading a whipped cross from Joshua Baggs into the grateful arms of Anderson.
The Lang Jacks lead was nearly wiped away with 12 minutes remaining when an in-swinging corner was headed goalwards, but with a defender deflecting the shot off the post.
Fitzpatrick then missed a huge opportunity minutes later when Atkinson scrambled a shot at goal from the floor, with the rebound being sliced wide by the former Dunston man.
Fitzpatrick then missed another one-on-one in the 7th minute of injury time when Atkinson slipped him in on goal but the forward fired over.
Bott was then shown a straight red for Seaham a minute later for hurling abuse at the referee, following a decision going against the striker.
Next up for Whickham are Crook Town at the First Mortgage Glebe on Saturday 6th November.
Starting XI (3-4-3): J. Anderson, M. Hoganson, J. Moody, T. Howard, G. Priest, S. Robson (L. Parral, 45’), D. Bisset, D. Burrell (c) (F. Martindale, 89’), Z. Atkinson, S. Jasper (D. Gallagher, 63’), M. Fitzpatrick
The Lang Jacks new manager Tony Fawcett and one of his new signings, Jack Moody spoke after the victory, with the latter picking up the man of the match award on his debut.
Fawcett said: “I thought we were excellent, it’s hard when you come in somewhere and ask a lot of people to follow you but today they really rolled their sleeves up, they stuck to the gameplan, they’ve grafted so hard, so for me as a person never mind a manager, I’m very pleased with the reaction.”
Moody said: “I think we were a bit nervous before the warm-up but once we got onto the pitch we just stepped into routine of doing what we need to do and the lads I was playing alongside today were sensational, we worked hard and had that togetherness Tony’s been on about and we fought for each other and at a club like this that’s all the fans want, because if you fight for each other you’re going to pick up results by out-competing teams which you can do in this league.”
He continued: “We (the new signings) got there first and the players came straight over to shake our hands, introduce themselves and it had that family feel – at no point did I feel like ‘I’m new here’, it was a case of I’m one of the Whickham lads now.”
More from those interviews and others to follow on the Whickham FC TV YouTube channel next week.