Match Report: Mickleover 1-0 South Shields
South Shields missed out on the chance to go top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League as they were beaten by the division’s form side Mickleover on Tuesday.
James Butler’s early header earned a fifth straight win for Sports, who were reduced to 10 men in the second half after the sending off of captain Phil Watt.
The result kept Shields second in the table, one point behind leaders Matlock Town having played the same number of games.
Mickleover came into the match with a great deal of confidence and demonstrated that from early in proceedings.
Myles Boney made a number of impressive saves in the Shields goal, the first of which saw him spring to his left to deny Andy Dales with a one-handed stop.
The hosts continued to put the Mariners under pressure and after Dillon Morse blocked from Stuart Beavon and Boney made another tremendous save to keep out a piledriver from Ben Radcliffe, the opening goal arrived on the quarter-hour mark.
A corner was sent in from the left and met with a towering header by Butler, with Boney unable to claw it away this time.
Morse again made an important block from Beavon to keep Shields’ deficit at one before they began to assert themselves more as they gained some control in the middle.
Mitch Rose was particularly impressive and he sent a long shot over from distance as the Mariners began to threaten.
At the other end, Boney was sharp to hold a low drive from Andrew Hughes, but that was a rare foray forward from the hosts in the closing stages of the first half.
Shields almost levelled on the stroke of half-time as Jordan Hunter jinked into space on the right flank before sending in a superb cross which Rose headed wide at the back post after a surging run from midfield.
The Mariners had a decent start to the second half, too, and after Blair Adams ran down the left and picked out Nathan Lowe with a low ball into the box, only a last-ditch block prevented the away side getting back on level terms.
The red card incident came on 55 minutes when Watt was adjudged to have committed an act of violent conduct, but Mickleover were resolute in the remainder of the game to limit Shields’ chances.
They did eventually come, and the best of them arguably fell to JJ Hooper when Alex Kempster fizzed in a dangerous cross from the right, but it came at the substitute quickly and he was unable to convert with his head.
Hooper also saw a volley saved from 12 yards and home goalkeeper Jonathan Hedge kept out a 20-yard strike from Rose, while Lowe sent a half-volley just past the post as Shields gathered some momentum.
They were unable to capitalise on it, though, and their final opportunity fell to Jack Bodenham at the back post, but he could only head into the ground and over the bar.
Shields will seek a return to winning ways when they travel to Lancaster City in the league on Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Rose, Morse, Bodenham, Jenkins (Osei 60), Lowe, Hodgson (Hooper 52), Briggs, Kempster (Rossiter 86). Subs not used: Shaw, McGowan.