Whickham’s ten-game unbeaten run in the league came to an end following a 1-0 away defeat to Seaham Red Star on Saturday. WRITES ADAM TONES.
In a scrappy heated encounter with both teams struggling to get a hold of the game, it was the home team who found a breakthrough just before the hour mark.
The game’s decisive moment came on 57 minutes when a cross from the right was headed home by Seaham striker Daniel Sayers.
Whickham started the brighter of the two teams, Nathan Greenwood had an effort from just outside the box saved comfortably by Andy Jennison after just two minutes.
The hosts were fortunate midfielder Thomas Bott remained on the pitch in the opening stages of the match.
The Seaham midfield looked to have put a hand in the face of Zak Atkinson after just four minutes. The referee awarded a free kick to the visitors, but no card was banished.
Danny Barlow thought he give the visitors the lead a couple of minutes later, the attacking midfielder fired a quickly taken free-kick off the outside of Jennison’s post.
Scott Robson was next to have an attempt at goal albeit off target.
The Lang Jacks broke quickly from inside their own half through Kaleb Young before Barlow’s dinked pass set Scott Robson away down the right, his effort from 20 yards going wide of the Jennison’s near post.
The home team could have been down to nine men after just 23 minutes, Sayer’s sliding tackle on Whickham goalkeeper Chris Bannon was late leaving the goalkeeper in a heap of pain.
Bannon had rushed off his line to gather up a loose ball after Seaham had tried to get Sayers in on goal with a ball hoofed over the top of the Whickham defence.
The referee deemed the foul to be worthy of a yellow card only.
Whickham pushed for the opening goal, and it almost came through Young at the back post.
Greenwood had his shout for a penalty waved away, with the resulting corner falling to Young 10 yards out. The midfielder pulled his shot just wide of Jennison’s far post.
A scrappy first half ended with both teams’ level at the break.
The second half was more of the same, Greenwood had an effort from the centre of the goal caught with ease by Jennison just two minutes into the second half.
The deadlock was broken on 57 minutes through Sayers at the back post.
Whickham originally cleared a Seaham corner but the resulting cross deep into the visitor’s box was nodded past Bannon to open the scoring.
The Lang Jacks thought they were level only minutes later, a ball over the top put Scott Robson through on goal.
Whickham’s joint-top goalscorer delicately chipped the advancing Jennison only to see his effort bounce up and off the crossbar with the home team clearing their lines.
The visitors continued to try and play their style of football, but Seaham defended in numbers – hoofing the ball clear at every opportunity.
Greenwood had Whickham’s best chance to equalise in the final few minutes, the skilful forward skipping past two Seaham players but his shot was saved by Jennison.
The home team held on to take all three points.
Whickham remain in 8th place with three matches remaining, while hosts Seaham Red Star sit in 11th place with two matches to go.
Whickham manager Tony Fawcett was left disappointed with the result after the game.
He said: “I said to the lads at half time it was a difficult one to debrief, we had done ok, and we had not conceded many chances.
“We had a couple of chances ourselves and looked lively at times, but we lacked a little bit of quality.
“In the second half we have been outbattled and they bought everything left, right and centre off the referee.
“They slowed the game down and launched it long and it was a difficult task for us. We’ve not played very well, it was frustrating.”
Fawcett spoke about the loss of captain Ross Peareth who was unavailable for the match.
He added: “Yeah, I think the other two games we have lost he has not been playing either.
“He’s really important to us and we all know that. He does a lot of the dirty work and again we talk about how good he is as a footballer too.
“His positioning is good; he protects the back four and picks up the second balls and does not allow people to dictate the game.”
The Whickham manager spoke of the team’s frustrations after the defeat, adding: “Yeah course it’s frustrating and they are frustrated in there.
“I’ve just said to them this is part and parcel of football. Sometimes things go your way sometimes they don’t.
“Everything we tried today didn’t work for them and these things happen sometimes.
“You’ve got to take it on the chin and regroup and get ready for Wednesday.”
Whickham Team: Bannon, Howard, Agnew, Burrell, Elliott, Young, Barlow, Jack Robson (Dunn 58’), Greenwood (Below 86’), Scott Robson, Atkinson (Bisset 77’)
Subs not used: Moody, Bewicke.
Man of the Match: Dale Burrell.