Cullercoats 2-3 Hebburn Involve
Mcewan 11. 30, 68, 86
Mason, Hall, Watson, Cobley, Carr (Morton 30) T.Patterson, L.Williamson, Bromham, Mcewan, Tallen, Ballabanaj (Hall 60)
Unused: Shipley, Cairns, C.Williamson
A depleted Cullercoats side saw their unbeaten start to life as a senior side come to an end.
With Joe and Karl injured and last weeks MOM Rob Patterson also absent we were scratching around for a back 4 with 3 of the regulars missing. Lewis Carr filled in as an emergency defender alongside Thomas at centre half while Robbie and Jason returned to the full back slots. The opening exchanges were all about Hebburn as their youthful exuberance and pace caused us problems. The visitors were unlucky not to take an early lead when a goalmouth scramble saw Jason clear off the line before Hebburn hit the post and the bar as the ball somehow stayed out. On 11 minutes we took the lead against the run of play as Alex Mcewan cut inside onto his weaker right foot and his shot crept inside the post. Just 4 minutes later Hebburn looked to have equalised as a through ball caught us unaware but thankfully the referee eventually ruled the goal out for offside in controversial fashion. The visitors then lost their heads for a 15 minute spell as Cullercoats began to take control but some poor finishing meant we couldn’t extend our lead. On 28 minutes Hebburn pushed on and a powerful shot was brilliantly saved by Scott. This seemed to inspire the hebburn lads and frankly at this point there was only one team in it as they pushed on eventually levelling just two mins later. Unfortunately in the process we lost Lewis Carr as he picked up an injury in the scramble as Jason landed on his ankle. Dan Morton returning from injury himself was the latest man to take over in the left sided centre half position that seemed cursed following injuries to the previous three incumbents.
Second half was an end to end tense affair as both sides pushed hard for the win, Cullercoats perhaps had the better chances but couldn’t take them while Hebburn looked to counter at pace with their left winger and goal scorer creating havoc.
On 65 minutes another incredible save from Scott kept us level as a Hebburn goal looked to be on the horizon with wave after wave of attacks. A hard challenge from Thomas as he went in with a shoulder charge on 68 minutes resulted in a harsh penalty as Hebburn eventually took a deserved lead giving Scott no chance from the spot kick. With Marcus already replacing Lumi Ballananaj to make his farewell appearance before departing for Glasgow university we went to an attacking shape as Dan moved up front and Robbie switching to centre back. This paid off just 5 minutes later as confusion among the hebburn back line allowed Andy Tallen to race clear and round the keeper for his 8th goal in 3 games.
With the game all square it was all about who wanted it most as both teams were fired up. Hebburn again caused problems going forward and once again we had Scott to thank as another shot was tipped over the bar. On 85 minutes Tallen was penalised for a high foot on the half way line as he tried to hold the ball up and the resulting free kick proved to be decisive as a long hopeful ball forward was touched in for the winner. We did have a great chance to equalise as the Hebburn keeper picked the ball up twice in his attempt to timewaste. The resulting free kick was blocked as Cullercoats time ran out.
A wake up call today for the lads obviously key players missing didn’t help but it gave others a chance. Hebburn wanted the win more than us and it seemed a shock to our system to come up against a side younger and quicker than us after several games against older opposition lacking pace.
Mom: Scott Mason