Match Report: Radcliffe 0-4 South Shields
South Shields extended their 100% away record as three goals in five first half minutes guided them on their way to a 4-0 win at Radcliffe on Tuesday.
The Mariners were in command from the start at the Neuven Stadium but had no lead to show for their dominance until Ntumba Massanka struck just before the half-hour mark.
That prompted further goals in the minutes which followed from Darius Osei and Conor Tee, with Osei wrapping up the scoring late in the game to move Shields two points clear at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
It was a second trip to Greater Manchester in four days for Graham Fenton’s side following Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Hyde United.
Robert Briggs and Alex Kempster were introduced to the starting line-up in place of Jon Shaw and Will Jenkins and Shields established control from the outset, with Kempster at the heart of much of their brightest play in a left wing-back role.
He created the first opportunity of the game as he motored down the flank and delivered a cross which Massanka fired wide at the near post.
That was a sign of things to come as Shields pressured the Radcliffe goal. Osei was the next to eye an opener after being released down the right of the box, but he dragged his shot wide.
The Mariners looked in confident mood and that feeling was intensified in the 26th minute when Kempster drove inside from the left and slipped the ball to Massanka, whose composed finish opened the scoring.
That was the cue for the floodgates to open as Shields put their hosts to the sword.
The lead was quickly doubled after some excellent play by Will McGowan, who carried the ball through the centre and found Osei on the inside-left channel. He fainted to go inside before switching the ball onto his left foot and powering a low effort through the legs of goalkeeper Cameron Belford.
The away side sensed an opportunity to kill the game off and they effectively did that just beyond the half-hour mark when Callum Ross played in Tee and his shot from the right of the area arrowed into the bottom corner to put his team three goals to the good.
There were opportunities for a fourth in the closing stages of the first half, but the lively Kempster was denied by an interception and Adams’ strike was blocked.
Shields picked up where they left off in the first minute of the second half as Kempster rounded Belford and saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line. He chased the loose ball and was subsequently fouled by Belford, who breathed a sigh of relief when Robert Briggs sent the resulting penalty wide.
At the end of the match, Shields were left to reflect on a number of chances which went begging and could have made the scoreline even more convincing.
The closest they came was in the 56th minute as Blair Adams tricked his way past several players before finding Osei, who scuffed an effort which was cleared off the line in bizarre circumstances by Joseph Cummings, who was on the floor but kept the ball out with his head. The Mariners kept it alive and Belford saved well from Tee to keep the home side’s deficit at three.
Massanka was denied a second goal by a block while at the other end, Rod Orlando-Young fired in a rocket from the left flank which rattled Myles Boney’s crossbar.
Bobby Grant also went close for the hosts with a free-kick which found the side netting, but Shields continued to create most of the openings.
They went close again when Briggs whipped a trademark free-kick towards the top corner, only for Belford to brilliantly tip it onto the bar.
The final say was provided by Osei, who outmuscled his man on the left and cut inside before hitting a sweet strike which took a deflection on its way past Belford and into the corner.
Substitute Sam Hodgson could have added his name to the scoresheet in the closing stages, but Belford was equal to his effort.
The Mariners will look to continue their fine form when they travel to Marske United in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Briggs, Adams (c) (Shaw 60), Ross, Morse, Bodenham, Osei, McGowan (Jenkins 73), Massanka (Hodgson 83), Tee, Kempster. Subs not used: Steavens, Rossiter.
Goals: Massanka (26), Osei (29, 87), Tee (31).