Heaton Stannington 3-0 South Shields
By Philip Reay
South Shields’ revival suffered a setback on Saturday as they fell to a 3-0 defeat to Heaton Stannington at Grounsell Park.
The Mariners went in to the game on the back of four wins in five games, but were deservedly beaten by Northern League Division Two’s sixth-placed side.
Heaton started the game on the front foot, attacking from the start.
Lewis Burns outpaced the Shields defence before playing the ball into the path of Ben Telford, but a superb sliding tackle by Michael Turner dispossessed the Heaton striker and the danger was cleared.
The home side continued to press forward, and were awarded a free-kick on the left angle of the box following a foul on Burns. Dean Deagle fired the ball into the Shields box, but Chris Rue was on hand to head clear.
The Mariners created their first opening of the game as the 10 minute mark approached. Barrie Smith won the ball in the centre of the park and combined with Lee Maitland to release Rue on the right flank. Rue controlled the ball before firing a cross towards Paul Kane, but his header was hacked clear by Joseph Wear. The resulting throw-in was launched into the Heaton box, but again Wear was on hand to clear the danger.
Shields were enjoying a period of pressure, and on the quarter-hour were awarded a free-kick wide on the left that was fired into the box by James Talbot. Burns headed the ball clear, but only as far as Maitland on the edge of the box, and his shot flew inches over the bar.
The hosts responded instantly, and Gianpaolo Campania’s corner from the left was fired into Gary Yates, who was denied by a fine save by Niki Lawson.
Within a minute, Shields were under pressure again as Burns found Richard Hoggins clear of the defence, but again Lawson was on hand to tip the shot round the post.
The Heaton pressure brought reward on 27 minutes following the award of a free-kick on the right. Wear’s delivery fell to Yates in the box, and his shot bounced over the head of Lawson to give the hosts the advantage.
Spurred on by the opening goal, they again pressed forward. Hoggins collected the ball on the right flank and sent a cross towards Burns, but his header was well saved by Lawson.
As the game approached half-time, an innocuous challenge by Michael Turner was deemed a foul by the referee, and Heaton were awarded a penalty.
Brian Dodsworth, who had just been brought on as a substitute, picked the ball up, and with his first touch of the game he fired the home side two goals to the good.
Shields responded instantly, and only a flying save by Daniel Rule prevented Maitland from reducing the arrears.
James Talbot sent the resulting corner into the box, and for the second successive game a handball by a defender went unpunished, and the sides went into the break with the hosts two goals ahead.
Shields pressed forward from the restart, but their only reward was a corner that was comfortably dealt with by the Heaton defence.
On the hour, Burns again tormented the Shields defence and slipped the ball to Ben Telford with the goal at his mercy, but his shot was deflected over the bar by a superb clearance by Turner.
Shields manager Jon King made his first change of the game as Craig Roberts, returning from injury, replaced Rue.
With the second half approaching the midpoint, Alistair Stoddart found Telford in space, and he in turn found Ryan Bailey on the edge of the box, but his shot flew over the bar.
Within a minute, Heaton clinched their victory when a mix-up in the Mariners defence gave Telford the simplest of tasks to tap in from close range.
On 70 minutes, a foul on Barrie Smith saw the Shields midfielder limp off, to be replaced by Baptiste Fixot.
Five minutes later, the Mariners made their final change as Alex Kempster replaced Paul Kane.
Despite the changes, Heaton continued to dominate, and again Burns created an opportunity for Bailey, but he was denied as his shot stuck the base of the post before being hacked clear by the defence.
In the closing stages of the game, both Burns and Hoggins spurned opportunities to extend the Heaton advantage, and the game ended with a comfortable 3-0 victory for the home side.
Shields have a chance to bounce back on Tuesday as they travel to Billingham Town in the semi-final of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
HEATON STANNINGTON: Rule, Stoddart, Deagle, Wear, Pearson, Bailey, Telford, Campania, Yates, Hoggins, Burns. Subs (from): Dodsworth, Cairns, Carr, Lowson.
Goals: Yates (27), Dodsworth (pen 44), Telford (67).
SOUTH SHIELDS: Lawson, Rue (Roberts 62), Turner, Locke, Burn, Riding, Smith (Fixot 70), Maitland, Talbot, Kane (Kempster 75), Renshaw. Subs not used: Feasey, Hubery.