Match report: Newton Aycliffe 0-1 South Shields
South Shields registered a victory in their first pre-season outing as new signing Ntumba Massanka netted the only goal at Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday.
Massanka’s smart turn and finish seven minutes from the end settled the match as the Mariners were able to enjoy playing in front of supporters for the first time since last December.
The fans who made the trip to County Durham will have been enthused by many aspects of Shields’ play, particularly the performances of debutants Massanka, Conor Tee and Will McGowan, who all showed glimpses of their quality.
Tee was the only member of that trio to start the game at the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium and he was in the action swiftly, delivering a cross from the right which Wouter Verstraaten guided goalwards only to be denied by the goalkeeper.
The away side dominated possession in the early exchanges as they showed few signs of rustiness, with Tee again at the heart of their probing in the 15th minute as he was found by Alex Kempster on the edge of the box but unable to seriously test the goalkeeper with his effort.
Jon Shaw came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half for Shields as he met a Tee corner at the near post but was kept off the scoresheet by a fine goal-line clearance.
Shaw again proved influential shortly before half-time but this time at the other end of the pitch, with the defender timing a tackle superbly to deny the hosts a strike on goal.
Shields did have to repel one more attack before the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the opening 45 minutes, and only a superb fingertip save by Myles Boney denied Ethan Wood and kept the scores level.
Having already made one substitution in the first half, the Mariners made nine more at the break as the likes of Massanka and McGowan were given opportunities to shine.
It took less than a minute for Massanka to demonstrate his ability as he motored down the left and delivered a cross which was eventually skewed wide by Blair Adams, who was the only member of Shields’ starting line-up to still be on the pitch at that point.
The away side’s threat grew as the second half progressed and after Darius Osei and Robert Briggs saw efforts blocked, they broke the deadlock on 83 minutes.
A low ball from the right was collected by Massanka, who swivelled and picked out the bottom corner to mark his first appearance for the club with a goal.
It was to prove the last significant piece of action on a sun-kissed night in County Durham as Shields were left to reflect on an evening of positives and a victory to open their pre-season campaign.
They will look to continue to build their sharpness on Saturday when they welcome Stockton Town to 1st Cloud Arena.
South Shields: Boney (Steavens 46), Verstraaten (Hunter 46), Adams (c) (Kempster 62), Shaw (Agnew 46), Trialist (Morse 46), Ross (McGowan 46), Kempster (Osei 30), Lowe (Rossiter 46), Hodgson (Massanka 46), Jenkins (Briggs 46), Tee (Trialist 46).
Goal: Massanka (83).
Image: Kev Wilson.