Match Report: Morpeth Town 1-0 South Shields

Match Report: Morpeth Town 1-0 South Shields

South Shields’ six-match unbeaten run came to an end as Morpeth Town edged a tight derby at Craik Park.

Liam Noble’s penalty just before the hour mark settled the game in favour of the hosts, who were reduced to nine players in the closing stages after receiving two red cards.

A golden late opportunity for an equaliser was cleared off the line as the Mariners were left frustrated, but they remain second in the Pitching In Northern Premier League, three points behind leaders Matlock Town.

One change was made to the Shields team which started the 2-2 draw with Buxton three days earlier, with Will Jenkins replacing Conor Tee. JJ Hooper and Cedric Main were again ruled out through injury.

After opening the scoring in the second minute at Buxton, Robert Briggs almost enjoyed an even quicker start when he was picked out by Jack Bodenham with less than 60 seconds on the clock, and his clipped effort was destined to find the net before goalkeeper Dan Lowson clawed it to safety.

There was also a clear-cut chance at the other end early on as Noble delivered a cross to the back post which found Jack Foalle, but he could only fire it into the side netting.

The crowd of more than 1,500 were left scratching their heads as to how the game remained goalless on eight minutes. Shields attacked at speed down the left and Blair Adams bundled the ball to Darius Osei with the goal gaping, but a tremendous last-ditch block kept out his shot.

Myles Boney had to be alert as the flurry of early opportunities continued and he did well to deny Foalle before watching Connor Oliver shoot wide from a presentable position.

There was a sense that the opening goal would prove crucial and both teams will have felt aggrieved not to break the deadlock in the first half.

Shields went close again when Will McGowan played in Nathan Lowe down the right of the box and he skimmed an effort narrowly past the upright while at the other end, Boney saved well at his near post from Oliver.

Kevin Phillips’ side started the second half strongly and created the first chance of it, with Dillon Morse heading just over from a Lowe free-kick.

Morpeth ultimately provided the crucial first goal from the spot, though, as Bodenham was penalised for a foul before Noble rolled home from 12 yards.

Shields struggled to break down their hosts in search of an equaliser and almost fell further behind, but Boney produced a tremendous save from Liam Henderson as his strike arrowed towards the top corner.

The match was opened up again when Carl Finnigan was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Jordan Hunter and Noble joined him back in the dressing room for another foul on Hunter which resulted in his second booking of the night.

The Mariners put the nine men under pressure as the clock ticked beyond 90 and after Briggs had a header saved, the best opportunity arrived in the final minute of stoppage time.

After Lowson dropped a cross into the box the ball fell to Sam Hodgson, and his shot was destined for the net before being hacked off the line as Morpeth saw the remaining moments out to claim maximum points.

Shields will aim to return to winning ways when they welcome Atherton Collieries to 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday.

South Shields: Boney, Hunter (Rossiter 90), Adams (c), McGowan (Rose 71), Morse, Bodenham, Osei (Kempster 79), Lowe, Hodgson, Briggs, Jenkins. Subs not used: Shaw, Tee.

Attendance: 1,571.

Image: Kev Wilson.