Seaham Red Star 4-0 South Shields
By Philip Reay
South Shields failed to score in a game for the first time this season as they fell to a 4-0 defeat at promotion favourites Seaham Red Star.
Shields started the game on the front foot and inside the first minute a flowing move involving Paul Kane, Stephen Ramsey and David Molloy cut through the Seaham defence. However, Lee Maitland was unable to trouble the goalkeeper as he fired his shot over the bar from the edge of the box.
The Mariners continued to pressurise the Seaham defence, and within a minute Maitland again went close. James Talbot outpaced the defence on the right flank before sending a cross into the box for Maitland, but he headed over.
Shields were awarded a free-kick in the centre of the park following a foul on Molloy; Steven Graham fired the ball into the Seaham box, but the goalkeeper Shaun Newbrook reacted first to pluck the ball out of the air.
With 10 minutes on the clock, the home side created their first opportunity of the game as Sonny Andrews slipped the ball to former Mariners striker Liam McBryde. He cut in raced towards goal, but was denied by a superb point blank save by Jake Cunningham in the Shields goal.
Seaham went close to opening the scoring on 12 minutes. A free-kick on the edge of the ‘D’ was curled round the defensive wall by Lee Kerr, but the post came to the rescue of Shields and the defence cleared the danger.
On the quarter-hour, Maitland won the ball in the centre of the park and brushed aside two challenges before firing a shot at goal that was comfortably saved by Newbrook.
A minute later, Ramsey played the ball into the path of Molloy, but his progress was halted by a good challenge from David Gordon.
Seaham pressed forward, and Sonny Andrews collected the ball in space and coolly slipped the ball past Cunningham to put the hosts a goal to the good.
The goal spurred the home side on, and from the restart they again broke forward, winning a free-kick on the edge of the Shields box following a foul on Andrews. Kerr again curled the ball round the wall, but his shot flew just wide of the post.
As the first half approached the mid-point, a corner was curled under the Shields bar by Dean Nicholson, but Cunningham tipped the ball towards safety and Chris Locke cleared the ball up field.
Seaham maintained the pressure on the Shields defence as Nicholson and Kerr combined, but Nicholson’s long range shot was deflected wide of the post.
On the half hour, Shields went close to restoring parity. Ramsey played the ball into the path of Kane, but a superb reaction save by Newbrook denied the striker. The ball fell to Talbot, but again a deflection denied him and the danger was cleared.
From the clearance, Andrews broke clear of the Shields defence, but a last ditch challenge by Locke robbed the striker.
On 42 minutes, Talbot rifled a shot at goal from 25 yards that Newbrook was only able to tip round the post for a corner.
In the last action of the half, Alex Kempster played the ball into the path of Maitland and he in turn found Talbot, but his shot was comfortably saved by Newbrook.
Inside the first minute of the second half, Seaham doubled their advantage as David Palmer collected the ball in space before firing past Cunningham.
Shields pressed forward from the restart, but their only reward was a corner that was comfortably dealt with by the Seaham defence.
As the game approached the 65th minute, Ramsey collected the ball in the centre of the park before playing in Molloy. He rifled a shot at goal that was well saved by Newbrook.
With the hour mark approaching, Maitland drove forward, shrugging off the challenge of Kerr before releasing Ramsey. He fired a shot at goal that Newbrook was only able to parry; Kempster pounced on the rebound, but his shot flew the wrong side of the post.
This was to be Kempster’s last action as he was replaced by Abu Salim. Salim was involved from the start as he raced into the box and appeared to be brought down by Darren Reay, but the referee waved away the Shields appeal, indicating a corner to the visitors that was punched clear by Newbrook.
From the clearance, Seaham went straight down the park and increased their advantage as Lewis Wing fired in from the angle of the box.
Shields continued to press forward looking for a way back into the game, but they were unable to break through a resolute Seaham defence as they resorted to long range shots that failed to trouble Newbrook.
With 10 minutes remaining, Kerr picked the ball up on the halfway line and drove towards goal before playing the ball for Josh Home-Jackson, and he slotted in the fourth for Seaham.
From the restart, Shields broke forward, and from a corner Maitland struck the post, but this was as close as Shields were to get as the hosts claimed the points with a comfortable 4-0 victory.
The Mariners have an early opportunity to bounce back when they travel to Team Northumbria on Monday night.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Cunningham, Talbot, Feasey, White (Evans 36), Locke, Graham (Conroy 68), Kempster (Salim 59), Maitland, Ramsey, Molloy, Kane. Subs not used: Stephenson, Bell.