Chester-le-Street Town 1-2 South Shields: Morse seals cup win
South Shields survived a scare to secure a late win over Chester-le-Street Town in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday.
Dillon Morse netted the winner eight minutes from the end to seal a 2-1 victory for the Mariners and secure their place in the quarter-final.
Ben Harmison had opened the scoring early in the second half before Michael Hepplewhite equalised for the hosts.
Shields signalled their intent by naming a strong starting line-up as they continued their bid to reclaim the trophy they won in 2017.
In difficult conditions they started well against the Northern League Division Two side, with David Foley and Nathan Lowe both narrowly missing the target early on.
Teenager Callum Guy had a better opportunity to break the deadlock when he got on the end of a flick from Foley, but home goalkeeper Aaron Steavens denied him.
Shields continued to be frustrated and went close again when Foley got in behind on the left of the box and fired in a low ball which Harmison narrowly failed to convert.
The Mariners hit the woodwork on the half hour mark as Darren Lough’s cross from the left deceived Steavens before striking the post, with Harmison sending the rebound over.
A Josh Gillies free-kick went just past the post on the stroke of half-time and although the home side were dogged, Shields will have felt confident going into the second half.
They found the breakthrough almost immediately as a strike from distance from Ursene Mouanda took a deflection before being tipped onto the bar by Steavens, and Harmison tapped in the loose ball.
Harmison nodded a further effort not far wide after a cross from the left by Gillies, but the Cestrians levelled things up against the run of play in the 69th minute.
A low cross from the right led to a mix-up at the back and Hepplewhite took advantage to flick the ball home.
The second round tie was heading for penalties as it stood, although Gary Brown almost swung things back in Shields’ favour when he prodded an effort against the post from a Lowe free-kick.
The Mariners went close again when Mouanda threaded a ball through to Foley and Steavens did well to deny him.
However, the goalkeeper’s resistance was finally broken in the 82nd minute when he again saved a Foley effort but this time he parried to the feet of Morse, who made no mistake.
The centre-back thought he had scored again a minute before the end with a close range finish, but the offside flag cut his celebrations short.
Shields had done enough to qualify for the last eight, but will be looking for an improvement in Saturday’s league trip to Lancaster City.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Lister, Biwer (Baxter 83), Lough, Mouanda, Morse, Brown (c), Gillies, Lowe, Harmison (Cogdon 83), Guy (Briggs 83), Foley. Subs not used: Shaw, Adams.
Goals: Harmison (46), Morse (82).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.