It was a night to remember for Crook Town, especially for club chairman Vince Kirkup.
They secured their first win of the season following their promotion to the first division (beating opponents who had dumped them out of the FA Cup just a few days ago) . And Vince was presented with the Ebac Northern League’s Arthur Clark Memorial Trophy for his 50-year contribution to clubs in the league.
But the match could have had a very different outcome were it not for some outstanding goal line clearances that kept them in the game. In the 9th minute Seaham No. 9 Adam Lennox rounded Crook keeper Ronan Makepeace and seemed certain to score until Dale Elgie slid in to hack the ball away (injuring himself in the process).
Halfway through the half Mark Robinson made a quick break for the visitors, with his shot bouncing off Makepeace and spinning dangerously close to the goal until Jordan Fielding punted it clear.
For the the rest of the half the teams traded attacks in end-to-end play, but most of the shots were off target. One of the best chances fell to Liam Heywood who was set up by Lennox only for the No. 8 to hit the ball the wrong side of the post with a clear sight of goal. They came closer still in the added time at the end of the half. Lennox hit a tremendous shot matched by a spectaculr diving save by Makepeace.
Although Seaham had created the better chances, Crook had played their part in an open, attacking half of football. Things improved for the home team in the second half when they grew in confidence and got the upper hand. They started to string more passes together for their attacks as they took the game to the visitors.
Their efforts were rewarded in the 61st minute when Corey Nicholson broke down the right. His shot deflected off Red Star keeper Andrew Jennison and fell into the path of Jamie Tumilty who managed to get enough of a touch on the ball to send it over the line. The goal proved to be a fillip. A cross by sub Jamie Nash was met with a diving header by Joseph Smith and Jennison had two grabs before controlling a David Webb shot.
Webb and Nash combined in the 78th minute to score the decisive goal – Webb with a razor sharp pass through the Red Star back line and Nash with a razor sharp finish. They had made the most of their purple patch.
Red Star mounted a (very) late challenge to try and get something out of the game. Thibault Charmey latched on to a Thomas Lawson cross to make it 2-1 in the 92nd minute, giving the Crook faithful a nervous couple of minutes. But they couldn’t spoil the celebrations on and off the pitch.
A night to remember indeed, especially for Vince – a worthy recipient of the Arthur Clark trophy.