Marske United 3-1 South Shields
By Daniel Prince
South Shields’ League Cup challenge ended on Tuesday when they lost 3-1 at Marske United.
It was always likely to be a tough task for Jon King’s side against a team in Division One, and their hopes were not helped by the fact a number of players were unavailable due to work commitments.
The game seemed as good as over by half-time as the home side raced into a deserved 3-0 lead.
Josh MacDonald was the key man for Marske, with everything going through the right winger, and Shields struggled to cope with him in the opening 45 minutes.
On 10 minutes, MacDonald stooped to head an effort over the bar, and he was to grow ever more dangerous as the half went on.
Just two minutes later, his corner from the left looked to be overhit, but it was headed back into the danger zone by Adam Wheatley and finished off by Jamie Poole to give Marske the lead.
MacDonald sent a wicked cross over from the right just a minute later, but Bryan Stewart’s diving header went into the side netting as Shields survived.
Marske were getting a lot of joy down the right and from corners, and Glen Butterworth went close twice in a minute for them.
Firstly, he saw an effort deflected over, before he headed one off the bar from the resulting corner.
It seemed just a matter of time before the hosts scored again, and it was Butterworth who eventually got it on 33 minutes.
After yet more good work from MacDonald on the right, he pulled it back for Butterworth, and he made no mistake from the edge of the box.
Jak Wells then did well to deny Bryan Stewart after he cut in from the right, and Marske’s John Alexander then had a goal ruled out for offside as they continued to dominate.
The third finally arrived for the home side two minutes into first half stoppage time, when MacDonald got the goal his performance richly deserved.
After a strong run down the right, he cut inside and rifled an effort past Wells with his left foot to seemingly put the game to bed.
However, Shields looked a completely different team when they came out for the second half.
It was almost 4-0 on 48 minutes, but Wheatley’s goalbound header from another corner was excellently cleared off the line by Shields winger Kyle Houshby, who then went on to have a terrific end to the game.
Alexander fired an effort wide for Marske before the Mariners really came into it, with a dangerous free-kick from Christopher Feasey setting the ball rolling.
Shields pulled a goal back just after the hour mark through Houshby, who scored arguably the goal of the game.
After winning the ball in a central area, he unleashed a fantastic strike from 25 yards which flew into the top corner, and suddenly the away side seemed to be back in with a shout.
On 66 minutes, Houshby’s powerful free-kick went just wide, with his effort flashing across goal and crashing into the advertising boards.
Three minutes later, the home side appeared to be panicking as Ben Riding’s long throw was headed just over by Luke Richardson, with Shields looking ever more dangerous.
King’s side were to have one more half chance on 70 minutes after a scramble in the Marske box, but the home side then settled down and saw the game out.
Chris Locke cleared one off the line and Wells did well to save another, while Houshby and Richardson saw long range efforts go just wide at the other end.
When the final whistle blew, Shields were left to reflect on a strong second half display, but in truth they gave themselves too much to do in the opening 45 minutes.
MacDonald, who was kept quieter in the second half, had run the game in the first period, and his influence ultimately proved the deciding factor as the Mariners were knocked out.
Shields return to action on Saturday, when they travel to Chester-le-Street in a Division Two fixture at Moor Park. Kick-off is at 3pm.
MARSKE UNITED: West, Tidy, Poole, Collins (Mattewman 60), Wheatley (c), Butterworth, MacDonald, Gott, Earl, Alexander (Peel 79), Stewart (O’Sullivan 74). Subs not used: Myers.
Goals: Poole (12), Butterworth (33), MacDonald (45+2).
SOUTH SHIELDS: Wells, Locke, Turnbull, Brown, Riding (c), Richardson, Baxter, Coe (Foster 53), Bulman (McLean 79), Feasey, Houshby. Subs not used: Burnicle, Clark.
Goal: Houshby (63).