Match report: Blyth Spartans 1-2 South Shields
Darius Osei netted twice as South Shields won the inaugural CEFO CFS Challenge Trophy match against Blyth Spartans on Saturday.
The in-form forward bagged either side of half-time to help Shields to a 2-1 victory over the National League North side at Croft Park.
It continued Shields’ 100% start to pre-season and was their most notable victory of the summer to date.
Shields started on the front foot as Ntumba Massanka almost capitalised on an error by Blyth goalkeeper Alex Mitchell, but he did well to recover and block the follow-up strike.
The home side then had a great chance to take the lead as Connor Thompson stole the ball from Dillion Morse, but Myles Boney did well to close the angle and the effort trickled comfortably wide.
Although Blyth had produced the best chance of the game at that point, Shields were still pressing for the opening goal. Massanka was presented with a great opportunity to get it, but he miscued his shot and the ball sailed out for a goal kick.
Not long afterwards, Shields’ pressure paid off. Nathan Lowe played a brilliant corner into the front post and Osei flicked the ball into the roof of the net after beating his marker.
Blyth nearly hit back immediately as Thompson, who caused problems throughout the afternoon, found space in front of goal but dragged his shot wide.
The Mariners doubled their lead not long after the break as Osei bagged his second. Conor Tee did brilliantly to beat a defender and stand up a cross to the far post, where the in-form Osei was waiting to control the ball and fire into an empty net.
The home side got one back straightaway as substitute Karl Byrne was presented with a great opportunity and lifted the ball over Boney and into the net.
That gave Spartans much-needed energy as they searched for an equaliser. It almost came through Nicky Deverdics as Robbie Dale’s corner caused unrest in the penalty area, but his effort from close range hit the side netting.
Shields saw out the rest of the game after absorbing pressure towards the end, and look in great shape for the season ahead after continuing their winning pre-season run.
South Shields: Boney, Verstraaten, Kempster, Trialist (Agnew 58), Morse, Ross, Osei (McGowan 80), Briggs (c), Massanka, Lowe, Tee. Subs not used: Steavens, Neary, Hodgson, Steavens.
Goals: Osei (27, 50).
Words: Daniel O’Neill. Image: Kev Wilson.