By Daniel Prince
South Shields manager Jon King is keen to move on quickly from Saturday’s 5-3 defeat to Darlington RA at Peterlee.
Goalkeeper Brett Wilson was sent off midway through the first half for the Mariners, who were at different stages 4-0 and 5-1 down before launching a late mini-comeback.
King insisted there were positives for his team to take from the defeat, in particular the late brace from substitute Adam Sharp and stoppage time penalty by captain Barrie Smith.
He said: “I explained the poor points to the lads afterwards, but I told them that we have a big game on Monday against Hebburn.
“We need to take the way we finished this game into that.
“We finished the game well, and if it had gone on for another 10 minutes, who knows what might have happened?
“We certainly finished the game better than we started the second half, which is a positive in itself.
“Adam Sharp did that for us a couple of years ago, and isn’t at full fitness yet, but you can see when he gets a chance, he’ll take it.
“He has got great ability on the edge of the box.”
King felt his side played well in the first half, both before and after Wilson’s red card, but accepted it was a “disappointing” day for Shields.
He added: “It was a really disappointing game for us, but I think we controlled the game in the first half.
“Even with a man down in the first half, we still looked like the team who would score the next goal.
“We went three at the back and I decided to leave two up front because I wanted us to have a real go.
“At 2-0, we were always in the game, but at 3-0, it was a bit too much to do, so we changed the system and went four at the back then.”
King had particular praise for five of his players, who he felt kept the team going at Eden Lane.
He continued: “Barrie Smith got a goal, and he never, ever stops running.
“Chris Locke and Chris Feasey were outstanding, and Davie Molloy worked his socks off tirelessly.
“James Pickering did well, too, for his first game back after being on holiday, and those five lads kept us going.
“They showed great desire, even at 3-0 down, and showed that they cared.
“I felt a bit for Davie Molloy, because I thought he was outstanding and he never gave a minute’s peace to the defenders.
“He held the ball up for us and was a threat, and I just wanted him to get a goal.
“Overall, it was disappointing, but you are always fighting a hard battle when you go down to 10 men so early.”
Shields scored after 85, 89 and 91 minutes to make it something of a nervy ending for Darlington RA, and King feels the final whistle came just too early for his side.
He added: “When we got to 5-3, they were worried, and you could see that.
“We might have got four or five if the game went on for another 10 minutes.
“We just had too much to do in the end, but there are still positives for us to take.”
Shields travel to Hebburn Town on Monday for a South Tyneside derby at the Hebburn Sports and Social Ground. Kick-off is at 11am.