Chester-le-Street Town 2-2 South Shields
By Philip Reay
Despite dominating large spells of the game, South Shields left Chester-le-Street with only a share of the points in a 2-2 draw.
The Mariners started well, and as the game approached the 10 minute mark Barrie Smith won the ball on right flank before beating two men and crossing the ball into the box for Richie Logan, but his shot was blocked and the danger cleared.
A minute later and Shields again pressed forward; Chris Locke played the ball wide to Kyle Houshby, and he fired a cross into the box for Chris Feasey, but his shot flew wide of the post.
South Shields maintained the pressure on the Chester defence but were unable to create any clear scoring opportunities until the 20th minute; Smith turned past his marker before crossing the ball into the path of Feasey, but his shot was well saved by Ryan Graham in the Chester goal.
On 25 minutes Shields won a corner on the right that was fired into the box, but Dan Hepplewhite reacted quickest to head the ball clear.
Shields continued to press forward, and Mark Brown collected the ball on the edge of the box and played it into the path of Ben Riding, but his shot flew just wide of the post.
On the half hour a long throw from Riding was met by Stephen Ramsey in the middle of the box, but his header was clawed off the line by Graham in the Chester goal.
From the clearance, Chester broke forward and won a corner on the right that was sent into the box by Marron, but Mariners debutant Andy Hunter punched the ball clear.
As the first half entered the closing minutes Shields again went close as both Luke Richardson and Houshby had shots saved by Graham.
In the final minute of the first half, Hamblin raced down the left flank and fired a cross into the box for Chester-le-Street and it was met at the back post by Stevens, and he fired in from close range to take the hosts into the half time break a goal to the good.
At the start of the second half, Shields manager Jon King made two changes, with Tony Burnell and Liam Clark coming on in place of Feasey and Houshby.
Chester-le Street pressed forward at the start of the second half and only a superb save by Hunter prevented Stevens from doubling their advantage.
Shields again began to dominate the game, though, and Smith won the ball and found Liam Clark, but he was denied by Graham.
As the 55th minute approached second half substitutes Burnell and Clark combined, but Burnell headed over the bar.
Shields continued to pressurise the home defence and on 58 minutes were awarded a free kick on the right flank. Once again the second half substitutes combined; Clark floated the ball into the box and Burnell headed in to restore parity.
On the hour Shields manager King made his final substitution as Cameron Foster replaced Wayne Clarke.
The Mariners pressed forward looking to take the advantage their play warranted; Logan and Ramsey combined but Logan’s shot was well saved by Graham.
Minutes later Shields again went close as Foster broke down the right before crossing to Mark Brown, but he was unable to trouble the keeper as he headed over from close range.
Against the run of play Chester went ahead on 78 minutes. Hamblin crossed the ball into the box and a Shields defender turned the ball into his own goal.
With the game deep into added time Shields were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box; Liam Clark curled the ball round the defensive wall and beyond the reach of Graham to rescue a point for the Mariners.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Andy Hunter, Chris Locke, Luke Richardson, Mark Brown, Ben Riding, Wayne Clarke (Cameron Foster 62), Kyle Houshby (Liam Clark 45), Barrie Smith, Stephen Ramsey, Richie Logan, Chris Feasey (Tony Burnell 45). Sub not used: Luke Olabode.
Goals: Burnell (58), Clark (90).