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Seaham Red Star 2-1 Billingham Synthonia: McRoberts and Coulson keep The Star’s League Cup campaign alive
Goals from Sean McRoberts and Richard Coulson in either half were enough to earn the win the hosts’ impressive display deserved, despite Thomas Orton’s late strike almost seeing them pay the price for missed chances.
Management team member Simon Johnson spoke of how he was “very pleased,” with the display post-match, as The Star bounced back impressively from Saturday’s disappointing FA Vase defeat to Yorkshire Amateur.
“I thought for the first 35 minutes we were outstanding. I thought our attacking play was brilliant.”
Indeed, things could hardly have started better for Mark Collingwood’s men. A free-kick was won on the left of the Billingham box from kick-off and McRoberts teasing delivery evaded the waiting pack in the box but bounced conveniently into the top-right corner.
A second goal direct from a dead-ball in three games for the captain for the night.
Yet despite the opener finding the net with apparent ease, the hosts were unable to force home a second from the chances they created for the remainder of the half.
Dan Wilson and the sharp Jaden Cahill-Taylor both fired narrowly wide after working hard to earn openings in the fourth and 12th minute respectively, either side of Liam Travis finding the side-netting from a tight-angle for the visitors.
Another McRoberts free-kick was then inches from the same result when he thumped the bar from 25-yards in the 20th minute, and Liam Gillesphey’s header forced Richard Heslin into a good save seconds later.
The pressure kept building. But the chances kept going begging.
Coulson nodded an effort of his own narrowly over five minutes later when Cahill-Taylor’s deflected cross looped to the far-post and Wilson found the side-netting 11 after that.
Young goalkeeper Aaron Steavens may have had relatively little to do in the opening-half, but he kept his focus admirably, displaying that trait on 41 minutes when he got down sharply to his left to keep out and hold Travis’ 18-yard shot.
That contribution almost paid dividends immediately when Coulson was slipped through moments later. But he was denied by another sharp piece of goalkeeping, as Heslin got out to smother his attempt.
The second-period was a more end-to-end event.
Coulson was agonisingly close to reaching a low Scott Young delivery that flashed across the face of goal in the 49th minute, while William Gowan side-footed just wide at the other end eight minutes after.
The game’s major flashpoint then arrived when Joe Hailes was caught badly by a heavy challenge from Nathan Cobain in the 62nd minute. Just as the Billingham man could be viewed as lucky to have received only a yellow card from referee Craig Chatten, Hailes was fortunate not to suffer a more serious injury.
He and The Star ensured the focus was back on the football soon enough though, as the left-back set-up Coulson to double their lead in ruthless fashion.
On 68 minutes, the ball was pulled back to the Number 11 in an inside-left position in the box and he took a touch before rifling a low right-footed shot in at the near-post. It was overdue, but it was certainly deserved.
And it could potentially have been three for Seaham and two for Coulson within two minutes but Heslin made a superb point-blank stop.
In the end, that proved to be the foundation upon which the visitors built their strong finish to the game.
Five minutes later, they halved the deficit. A short-corner led to Dominic O’Connor teeing-up Orton 20-yards out, who swept a superbly accurate first-time right-footed shot beyond the dive of Steavens and in via the base of the right-hand post.
Cahill-Taylor very nearly undid Orton and Heslin’s good work of those previous few minutes when he raced through within moments of Seaham’s restart, but the visiting goalkeeper again made a crucial contribution as he got down to his right to tip the youngster’s shot beyond the far-post.
Steavens then displayed more assured keeping of his own at the other end when he held Daniel Boyle’s 20-yard effort with relative ease in the 80th minute. But it was a much closer call in the 86th.
A clever ball sent Travis clean-through but, with Steavens swiftly closing the angle, his side-footed attempt could only clip the outside of the right-hand post and go behind.
The hosts breathed a sigh of relief. It would have been very harsh punishment for some of their own missed chances given the impressive nature of their performance.
Taking such a result and display into the visit of West Auckland on Saturday was a notable plus for Johnson: “It’s a hard game against West Auckland, always is, but we’ll take it from here, confident.”
Seaham Red Star (4-2-3-1):
1. Aaron Steavens; 2. Scott Young (YC), 5. Liam Gillesphey, 6. Matthew Tumilty, 3. Joseph Hailes; 8. Paul Gardiner (YC), 4. Matthew Wade; 7. Jaden Cahill-Taylor, 10. Sean McRoberts (C) (Turns, 46’), 11. Richard Coulson; 9. Dan Wilson
12. Keigan Turns, 14. Daniel Price, 15. Tom Lawson, 16. Jacob Dow, 17. Chris Bannon (GK)
Manager: Mark Collingwood
Billingham Synthonia (4-2-3-1):
1. Richard Heslin; 2. Wayne Nyamayaro, 5. Nathan Cobain (YC), 6. Michael Joseph (C), 3. Matthew Gill; 8. Dominic O’Connor, 4. Thomas Brynn (Boyle, 46’); 7. William Gowan (Orton, 62’), 10. Joshua Smith (Rafiq, 67’), 11 Curtis Dunn; 9. Liam Travis
12. Daniel Boyle, 14. Harris Rafiq, 15. Koikoi Sakouvogui, 16. Thomas Orton, 17. Thomas Bligh
Manager: Jamie Pollock
Referee: Craig Chatten
Seaham Red Star:
McRoberts (1’), Assist: N/A
Coulson (69’), Assist: Hailes