Seaham 2-2 Sunderland RCA: Weldon and McRoberts lead late comeback to earn The Star a point in dramatic derby

Seaham Red Star 2-2 Sunderland RCA

Ebac Northern League Division 1

Saturday 5th October 2019, 3pm BST

Ferguson Motor Repairs Stadium

Late strikes from Paul Weldon and Sean McRoberts saw Mark Collingwood’s side take a draw from Saturday’s derby clash at the Ferguson Motor Repairs Stadium after Ryan Leonard’s first-half brace had given the visitors a two-goal lead prior to Kyle Davis’ sending-off early in the second.

“The lads were a little bit deflated after the game because we felt we probably deserved to win the game and with a little bit more luck on a different day you do win the game but it’s another step in the right direction.”

Manager Mark Collingwood’s words after seeing his side share the spoils with rivals RCA said a lot about how impressively the hosts had responded to going 0-2 down after only 17 minutes.

While Davis’ red card undeniably had an impact, The Star did an excellent job of establishing themselves in the game in the minutes after Leonard’s second, and built from there. Weldon and McRoberts were the ones who then delivered the rewards in impressive style in the 82nd and 85th minute respectively.

Seaham were somewhat on the backfoot even before the opener when David Henderson’s injury saw them forced into an early change, though Paul Gardiner did go on to put in an excellent box-to-box display in midfield.

Before he truly had the chance to get settled, though, Leonard had hammered the visitors in-front. After being found by a well-timed switch of play as RCA broke from a Seaham corner in the 9th minute, the teenager cut in from the left and swept a superbly directed right-footed shot into the far-corner.

The side currently sat 10th in the division had to deal with an injury set-back of their own soon enough, however, when Aaron Croft had to be replaced by Ross Preston in the 12th minute.

Yet they maintained their rhythm – and threat – with Leonard doubling their advantage six minutes later when he guided Nathan O’Neill’s superb through-ball into the bottom-right corner with a composed first-time finish.

Another injury for The Star then saw Scott Young replace Matthew Tumilty on 25 minutes, making the task appear yet steeper. But, aside from the lively Dylan Elliott rifling a shot 20-yard shot wide of the left-hand post, the hosts more than held their own for the remainder of the half, with Dan Wilson forcing a sharp stop out of goalkeeper Robert Dean in the 41st minute.

There was ample encouragement, if not a goal, for the hosts as they went in at the break. As such, the game continued to be an even one when the teams re-emerged for the second-half but, in the 55th minute, the pendulum swung in The Star’s direction when Kyle Davis appeared to have a swing of his own towards Young as they battled for possession down the Seaham right.

A straight red card followed for the winger, with manager Martin Swales suffering the same fate moments later following a brief scuffle near the dugouts as emotions ran understandably high.

The home side’s route back into the game was now an admittedly clearer one. They kept probing as the clock ticked down and stayed impressively patient even when clear openings weren’t a regular occurrence.

Wilson turned impressively but shot narrowly over from 18-yards in the 78th minute, but Weldon found the target emphatically four minutes later.

A corner was played short to Young on the right side of the box, with the left-back then intelligently dropping to the edge of the box to give his fellow full-ack an option and himself space. Young found him and, after getting the ball out of his feet, he whipped a devilish 25-yard shot into the top-left corner with his left-foot.

The Star were wasting no time now. Wilson led another charge three minutes later and earned a free-kick after being brought down in an inside-left position on the edge of the RCA box.

McRoberts stepped up and bent a superbly accurate right-footed shot beyond the dive of Dean and into the bottom-right corner.

The visitors managed what could have been a very rocky final few minutes impressively from there, although Max Allen did need to put in an excellent sliding challenge in the dying embers of stoppage-time to force the ball back towards his goalkeeper when Richard Coulson looked set to burst through after a clever Wilson ball in-behind.

Despite the feeling at full-time that The Star could have grabbed all three points, Collingwood recognised that a draw was probably a fair reflection on the contest as a whole, and viewed it as “Another step in the right direction”.

With Monday’s scheduled trip to face Newcastle University postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, the manager’s attention will now be even more firmly focused on the “massive” visit of Yorkshire Amateurs in the FA Vase on Saturday.

“We’ve got to take it game-by-game and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” continued Collingwood. “Game-by-game, step-by-step, block-by-block”.

Seaham Red Star (4-3-1-2):

1. Chris Bannon; 2. Joseph Hailes, 5. Anthony Myers, 6. Matthew Tumilty (Young, 25’), 3. Paul Weldon; 7. Matthew Wade (McRoberts, 67’), 4. David Henderson (Gardiner, 7’), 11. Richard Coulson; 10. David Robinson (C); 8. Michael Chilton, 9. Dan Wilson

Substitutes:

12. Paul Gardiner, 14. Scott Young (YC), 15. Sean McRoberts, 16. Jaden Cahill-Taylor, 17. Josh Winthrop

Manager: Mark Collingwood

Sunderland RCA (4-3-3):

1. Robert Dean (YC); 2. Max Allen, 4. Sam Lilley (Ezard, 76’), 5. Greg Swansbury (C), 3. Ross McNab (YC); 10. Nathan O’Neill, 6. Aaron Croft (Preston, 12’), 8. Dylan Elliott (YC); 7. Kyle Davis (RC), 9. Mark Daison (YC), 11. Ryan Leonard

Substitutes:

12. Dominic Moan, 14. Kieron Ezard, 15. Ross Preston, 16. Craig Hodgson, 17. Lewis Green

Manager: Martin Swales (RC)

Referee: Chris Ellis

Goals:

Seaham Red Star:

Weldon (82’), Assist: Young

McRoberts (85’), Assist: Wilson

Sunderland RCA:

Leonard (9’), Assist: Davis

Leonard (18’), Assist: O’Neill

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