Horden 3-5 South Shields
By Daniel Prince
Wayne Phillips and Stephen Ramsey scored twice each while Lee Scott was also on the scoresheet as South Shields beat Horden CW in an entertaining pre-season friendly on Friday.
Shields had to come from 2-0 down against their impressive Wearside League opponents, but their class going forward told in the end.
Phillips’ two goals were of the highest quality, while Ramsey took his tally in pre-season so far to four after coming on as a substitute, and Scott grabbed his first goal for the club.
Shields were playing for the second time in three days, having beaten North Shields 1-0 on Wednesday, and manager Jon King made six changes to his starting line-up, with Gareth Young, Wayne Buchanan, James Heptinstall, Daryll Hall, Kenny Ball and Phillips coming in.
It was the hosts – who are expected to challenge for promotion from the Wearside League this season – who started the brighter, and they forced a superb save from Young within four minutes as he got down low to tip behind a shot.
Shields’ first chance fell to Adam Sakr, but his low shot from the edge of the box was well held by Horden goalkeeper Christopher Davidson, who made three impressive appearances for the Mariners last season.
Ball was replaced by Gilberto Chapim on 15 minutes after picking up a knock, and the Mariners then went on to create some decent opportunities, with Scott having a header expertly saved by Davidson after he was found by a Heptinstall cross.
Scott also nodded wide from a Sakr cross, while a pass across goal from Chapim was just intercepted before Scott could tap in.
The former Bedlington Terriers striker was being frustrated in front of goal, and that pattern was to continue as he headed another Sakr cross past the post.
Horden punished Shields for their misses when Michael Pattison robbed them of possession at the back, ran through on goal and fired in a low shot which found the net after kissing the post.
Before the Mariners had a chance to react, they found themselves another goal down as a lofted ball over the top from the left beat the defence and found Pattison, who controlled before firing a central shot which had enough on it to beat Young.
The two-goal deficit provided Shields with a test of character, and they responded well, with Scott clawing one goal back as Sakr’s cross was parried to him by Davidson, and the striker tapped into an empty net.
There were opportunities to grab the equaliser before half-time, with the first falling to Scott. Phillips’ cross from the left was controlled by Warren Byrne, who took his time before playing in Scott eight yards out, but he could only fire well over the bar.
Lee McMahon created a chance for himself on the stroke of the break as he controlled a ball on his chest just outside the box, before volleying narrowly wide.
Shields continued their momentum into the second half, and Phillips brought them level five minutes after the break. It was an impressive goal as Sakr beat his man on the right, gave himself space to cross and delivered a terrific ball to the back post, where Phillips leapt superbly to beat his man and head into the corner from 10 yards.
His second goal was even better, as he put the Mariners ahead for the first time on 57 minutes. A ball was played to him outside the box on the left, and as he ran onto it, he spotted the goalkeeper off his line. With his first touch, he deftly lofted the ball above and beyond the goalkeeper, and it then dropped in time to hit the net via the post.
Horden were determined not to make things easy, though, and they dragged themselves back on level terms in the 66th minute as they grabbed the ball high up the pitch and Andrew Lonsdale dribbled into the centre before firing low into the bottom corner.
They almost went back into the lead in this topsy-turvy game when a ball was played across goal and was about to be tapped in before Heptinstall got there in the nick of time to clear it out for a corner.
That seemed to spark Shields into action, and Ramsey continued his fine scoring streak as he put his team back ahead again. Heptinstall delivered a superb cross from 30 yards out on the left, and Ramsey got in front of his marker before nodding the ball into the far bottom corner.
It was Ramsey who sealed the win as he got Shields’ fifth a minute before the end. Substitute Barrie Smith delivered a cross into the centre of the box from the right, and Ramsey got free of his markers before heading the ball up and over the goalkeeper before it dropped into the net.
There was still time for Young to tip over a powerful free-kick from long range, and immediately afterwards, the referee blew his whistle to signal another win for Shields.
They are next in action on Tuesday, with Whitley Bay the visitors to Mariners Park from 7.30pm.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Buchanan, Heptinstall, Hall (c) (Riding 76), Galpin (Smith 61), Ball (Chapim 15) (Ivanov 76), Sakr (Kempster 84), McMahon (Kane 84), Byrne (Ramsey 66), Scott (Jameson 61), Phillips.
Goals: Scott (40), Phillips (50, 57), Ramsey (74, 89).