Newton Aycliffe slipped to their first defeat of the Ebac Northern League season against Seaham Red Star thanks to Adam Lennox’ penalty 15 minutes from time at the Independent Utility Advice Arena.
Lennox converted after goalkeeper Adam Pickford was adjudged to have brought down Daniel Sayer in the area by referee Adam Nichol who also reduced Aycliffe to 10 men in the closing stages with Alex Walker being shown a second yellow card.
Colin Stromsoy’s side came close to an equaliser six minutes from time when substitute Ben Wood looped a header against the post but there would be no late drama on this occasion on a frustrating night in Seaham.
Aycliffe arrived on the back of four straight wins to open their Division One campaign and were buoyed by Saturday’s win at Consett.
Stromsoy made one change to his starting XI with Nick Green coming in for the injured Lewis Walton at fullback but the visitors struggled to get anything going in the opening exchanges against a physical Red Star side.
Thibault Charmey saw his low freekick deflected wide in the opening 10 minutes before Pickford was called into action with an excellent save in the 16th minute to deny Sayer pushing his header onto the post from Charmey’s corner.
And it wasn’t until Ferguson’s introduction that Aycliffe began to find their feet with the midfielder drawing a freekick from Charmey which Jake Petitjean cannoned off the wall for a corner.
From Ethan Wood’s resulting corner Sonni Coleman came within a whisker of the opener when he reacted smartly to head narrowly wide of Andrew Jennison’s post.
Ferguson sent a freekick over the bar before he tested Jennison from range five minutes before the interval as neither side were able break the deadlock.
Mark Robinson sent an inviting cross along the face of Aycliffe’s goal in the opening exchanges of the second half before Lennox forced Pickford into another good save to his right heading from Robinson’s freekick.
Liam Heywood angled a header wide of Pickford’s post from the resulting corner before Ben Dibb-Fuller found himself in a promising position on the left of the area but his fizzed cross was gathered by Jennison.
Walker picked up his first yellow card of the evening just before the hour for a challenge on Lennox before the striker forced Callum Munro into an important clearance four minutes later.
Aycliffe’s best moment came midway through the second half when Wood sent an inviting ball over the top for Liam Jarvie to chase and he was able to race clear of Liam Hodgson and Joseph Hailes but his near post strike was denied by the feet of Jennison.
And then came the moment which turned the game on its head as Pickford scrambled to gather Robinson’s corner from the left but was penalised for being deemed to bring down Sayer in an attempt to smother the ball.
Referee Nichol waved away the protests as Lennox sent Pickford the wrong way to hand Seaham the advantage.
Coleman tried his luck from range immediately from the restart but was off target before Aycliffe came within the width of the post of finding an equaliser.
Shaun Ryder’s short corner found Ferguson whose cross wasn’t dealt with by Jordan Patterson allowing Wood to angle a header goalward only to see it crash back off the post and away.
It would be the closest Aycliffe would come who saw their night get even worse when Walker was shown a second yellow card two minutes from time for a foul on Sayer as the hosts saw out the game to hand Aycliffe their first defeat of the season.
Seaham red Star : Jennison, Hailes, Sayer, Bott, Patterson, Hodgson (Kerr), Charmey (Robinson J), Heywood, Lennox, Robinson M, Lawson