Esh Winning 1-2 South Shields
By Daniel Prince. Match sponsored by: CVN Print.
Stephen Ramsey scored a brace and was later sent off as South Shields battled to a 2-1 win at Esh Winning on Monday.
The long-serving striker scored his 75th and 76th goals for the club to put the Mariners in a commanding position, but after Esh pulled a goal back late on, Shields came under pressure when Ramsey was shown a second yellow card.
Jon King’s side held on to the three points to end a run of seven games without a win in all competitions, and it was a victory their performance warranted.
Shields started brightly at West Terrace, with Chris Feasey weaving his way through on the left before firing in a dangerous cross which narrowly missed Ramsey.
Despite the visitors’ strong opening, it was Esh who almost took the lead on seven minutes.
Benjamin Sanderson launched a free-kick from the halfway line which was flicked on by Andrew Field and over Shields goalkeeper Steven Hubery, who watched as the ball bounced back off his crossbar.
That was a warning sign for the Mariners, and they were given another one when Paul Basey flashed a shot over from the edge of the box.
Shields were getting some joy down the right flank, with Ryan Bolam getting forward well from right wing-back, and on 24 minutes he sent a cross in which just cleared the crossbar after a strong run.
Soon after, the teenager showed tremendous desire to get on the end of an overhit ball down the channel before firing in a cross which just evaded Ramsey.
On 32 minutes, though, Ramsey did get on the end of a ball from the right.
This time it was Barrie Smith who chased a ball into the channel, and he then dribbled past his man before sending in an inch-perfect cross for Ramsey, who headed home from four yards.
Esh Winning were struggling to create opportunities of their own, and their only further half chance before half-time came when Lee Blades drilled a 30-yard free-kick well over the bar.
Shields, though, could have extended their lead before the break, with a number of chances going begging.
Aron Burn was found by a Ben Riding long throw on 39 minutes and had two stabs at it, but failed to get any clean contact on the ball and the opportunity evaporated.
Riding had an even better chance when Feasey’s deep free-kick found him unmarked six yards from goal, but he headed it wide.
On the stroke of half-time, Lee Maitland bulldozed his way through the centre for the Mariners and beyond the final defender, but his eventual shot did not have enough on it to beat home goalkeeper Dean Caris as Shields went in a goal ahead.
Esh created a half chance within four minutes of the restart, but captain Luke Thompson headed a free-kick wide, while at the other end, Ramsey had a big opportunity to grab his second.
Riding’s free-kick from halfway bounced up for Ramsey in the box, but with the ball rising, he prodded it over the bar.
Bolam went close on the hour mark when he curled a free-kick from the left of the box which was destined for the bottom corner before Caris pushed it away.
Shields were almost made to pay for their missed opportunities when the ball broke for Basey in the box. With the goal at his mercy, though, he poked it wide.
At the other end, a huge appeal for a penalty was waved away when Burn was felled in the box, while Basey headed wide for Esh as they fought for a leveller.
Still, though, it was Shields who were creating the better chances, and another one arrived when Bolam squeezed through a ball for Smith on the inside-right of the box. The midfielder touched it past the onrushing goalkeeper, but after being forced wide, his cross had too much on it for Alex Kempster. The ball was eventually recycled to Maitland, whose low shot was held by Caris.
The Mariners did not have to wait too long to get their second, with Ramsey scoring again on 73 minutes.
Riding launched a long throw into the box from the left, and after the ball was flicked on to him, Ramsey expertly hooked it over his head and into the opposite corner.
From a position of complete control, though, Shields found themselves on the back foot for the remainder of the match.
First, Basey had a glorious opportunity to pull a goal back when the ball was played to him on the inside-right of the box, but his shot was well saved by Hubery.
Soon after, Ramsey was handed his first booking for kicking the ball away, before Hubery made a tremendous one-handed save to keep out a low free-kick from Gavin Mudd.
Esh made it a nervous ending for the visitors when a corner from the left was flicked on to Thompson, who forced a header in at the back post with five minutes left.
Soon after the kick-off, Ramsey was shown a second yellow card for a foul on the right, leaving Shields with the task of surviving the closing moments with 10 men.
Basey curled a free-kick from the right which looked destined for the top corner before touching the head of Chris Rue in the wall and deflecting narrowly over, and that was a close as the hosts got.
Hubery had to make one more smothering save, but Shields held on to register a welcome victory ahead of three home games to close the season.
ESH WINNING: Caris, Sanderson, Spence, Field, Thompson (c), Mudd, Phillipson, Blades, Basey, Dempsey (Pearson 58), Hughes. Subs not used: Kirkup, Simpson, Parnaby.
Goal: Thompson (85).
SOUTH SHIELDS: Hubery, Bolam, Feasey, Rue, Burn, Riding, Maitland (Talbot 78), Locke (c), Ramsey, Smith, Kempster.
Goals: Ramsey (32, 73).
Sent off: Ramsey (86).