Easington Colliery 3-2 South Shields
By Daniel Prince
South Shields fell to a 3-2 pre-season defeat at Easington Colliery on Saturday after a disappointing second half performance.
A game played in scorching heat was deservedly won by the home side after the Mariners made a number of changes in the second period.
Both sides were bright from the start, with Brett Wilson making a decent low save for Shields before a Barrie Smith drive from 20 yards at the other end was kept out.
The Mariners were looking the more dangerous team, and an effort from David Molloy on the inside-left of the box was blocked.
Shields got the breakthrough on 20 minutes after a quick move.
David Conroy’s low cross from the left was just missed by Stephen Ramsey, but the resulting clearance went straight to captain Smith on the edge of the box. He swivelled and sent it arrowing into the bottom corner to give his side the lead.
Within three minutes, Easington were level.
A penalty was given away after a foul on the left of the box, and Mark Catcheside slotted the spot-kick down the middle.
Shields’ best chances at this stage were coming on the counter, and after another swift move, left-back James Pickering fired not far over from just outside the box.
The sides went in level at the break, and the Mariners made three changes, introducing goalkeeper Jonny Ball, David Halliday and Danny Ryan. Kyle Houshby had already been brought on in the first half as a replacement for the injured David Conroy.
Both teams had a decent chance within seven minutes of the restart, before Houshby restored the Mariners’ lead on 54 minutes.
After a free-kick was won around 25 yards from goal on the right, it appeared to be set up for a right-footed cross.
However, Houshby opted for a power shot, and his effort was too hot to handle for the home goalkeeper and sailed past him into the top corner.
History repeated itself, though, as Easington dragged themselves level again within three minutes.
A shot from just inside the box was deflected in by Liam Beeston, and from then, the home side started to dominate.
Wilson made a superb save on the hour mark, but the ball was then dribbled around him, and with the goal gaping, the Easington effort was somehow cleared off the line by Chris Locke.
A rasping 25-yard effort from Smith at the other end went just over, before Catcheside narrowly missed with a free-kick at the other end.
Houshby cut in from the left on 72 minutes for the Mariners, but saw his low effort easily held.
Ball was being kept busy in the Shields goal, and did well to save a shot from distance by Catcheside after it hit a bobble.
He made another great stop on 78 minutes, but was well beaten in Easington’s next attack.
A cross from the right fell to Beeston at the back post. He slid in to meet it and send it into the empty net, but it reached him too quickly and he could only divert it onto the post.
On 81 minutes, though, Easington did get what turned out to be their winner.
Beeston lined up a free-kick just outside the box on the left, and curled his effort into the bottom corner as Shields’ resistance was ended.
It was another good workout for Jon King’s side, who will be in action again on Monday when they face Spennymoor Town at Peterlee.
South Shields: Brett Wilson (Jonny Ball 46), Chris Locke, James Pickering (Dean Black 65), Jordan Fraser (David Halliday 46), Aron Burn, David Molloy, David Conroy (Kyle Houshby 34), Craig Watson (Danny Ryan 46), Barrie Smith, Stephen Ramsey, Damien Stevens (Jordan Fraser 73).