Match report: Shildon 1-3 South Shields
Late goals from Darius Osei and Blair Adams sealed South Shields’ passage into the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup as they saw off the challenge of a plucky Shildon side at Dean Street.
The Mariners were a goal up and looking comfortable after Conor Tee picked out the top corner with a sumptuous strike on 17 minutes.
Shildon equalised from a corner later in the first half, though, and it was not until the closing stages that the Mariners re-established control to secure a 3-1 win.
Osei scored the vital third goal of the game as part of a bright cameo from the bench and Adams had the final say as he prodded home at the back post from a low Jordan Hunter cross.
Graham Fenton named a strong Shields line-up to face a Shildon side which had enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season following their promotion from the Northern League.
The youth of Will Jenkins and Sam Hodgson were supplemented by the experience of Jon Shaw and Alex Kempster as part of four changes from the team which started the victory at Scarborough Athletic five days earlier, with Nathan Lowe and Callum Ross missing out through injury and strike duo Osei and Ntumba Massanka named among the substitutes.
They quickly hit their stride and Tee made his intentions known from the first whistle, hurdling two challenges before seeing his effort from 20 yards drift wide just 30 seconds in.
The Mariners appeared determined to test Shaun Newbrook in the Shildon goal and the first to sting his palms was Hunter with 25 yard drive which the goalkeeper pushed away.
Jenkins, Robert Briggs and Hodgson also threatened in the early exchanges while at the other end, Myles Boney got his body behind a powerful David Atkinson strike to maintain parity.
Tee was at the heart of much of Shields’ best work and his confidence was clear as he looked to score for the fourth consecutive game. He tried to catch Newbrook out with a dipping attempt from long range which moved in the air, but he was equal to the effort.
The next time Tee took aim, though, there was no keeping it out.
Adams played a pass inside from the left channel and Tee shifted his weight onto his right side before taking a touch and caressing the ball into the top corner from 25 yards to continue his outstanding scoring streak.
That gave Shields a 17th minute lead which was warranted given their dominance in the possession and territory stakes, and Tee looked like he might make it a quickfire double when Jenkins bypassed the Shildon midfield with a delightful ball over the top, but as he readied himself to shoot an unfortunate stumble allowed the defence time to recover and his eventual effort was blocked.
Dillon Morse was the next to go close as his header from a Briggs corner was cleared off the line. However, a second goal proved elusive for the visitors.
Shildon equalised against the run of play 11 minutes before half-time from a Joe Posthill corner. His delivery from the right was headed against the bar by Michael Sweet before Briggs nodded it against his own woodwork, and in the scramble which followed, Atkinson became the latest to strike the crossbar but this time the ball bounced down and beyond the line.
Shields were not as fluid as they had been in the early stages but did create three opportunities to go back in front before half-time, with Kempster narrowly failing to convert an Adams cross, Tee striking wide from outside the area and Morse going close with his own attempt from long range.
The Railwaymen frustrated Shields in the second half as they showed considerable improvements. Former Shields Academy player and loanee Will McCamley was a threat on the left flank and he had a decent opportunity within two minutes of the restart, but his shot went comfortably past the post.
Kempster’s final action before being replaced by Osei was a cross which Hunter controlled with his right before striking with his left, forcing Newbrook into a decent save.
Osei was introduced alongside Massanka shortly after the hour but they almost saw their side fall behind when Posthill’s corner fell to Atkinson in the six-yard box, but this time he could not find the net as his effort on the turn cleared the crossbar.
Boney saved from Posthill later in the half while Newbrook denied Massanka, with the tie seemingly heading for a replay as the sides remained locked at 1-1 going into the final 10 minutes.
Substitute Will McGowan almost changed that narrative for the Mariners soon after coming on, driving forward before unleashing a low strike from the edge of the box which struck the post.
The woodwork at that end of the ground had taken a pounding over the course of the game and it was hit again by Osei when he headed Hunter’s cross against it with six minutes left. Osei sensed the chance had not gone, though, and chased the loose ball out to the left channel before beating his man and sending in what appeared to be a cross with his left foot. Yet again, it cannoned against the post but this time it bounced beyond the line and into the opposite side netting to nudge Shields’ noses in front.
Shildon goalkeeper Newbrook was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident in the moments which followed but the home side’s challenge was not over, with Boney called on to make a vital save a minute into stoppage time from a Dean Thexton header.
As stoppage time ticked into a sixth minute and the Mariners advanced up the field, their progression into the next round looked all but assured but they added the third goal to make sure of it with almost the final kicks of the game.
Impressive hold-up play by Massanka released Hunter just outside the six-yard box on the right of the area and he squared it for his fellow wing-back Adams, who drove home his fourth goal of the season to give the travelling support some more to shout about.
Shields – who are at home to Ashton United in the league on Tuesday – now look forward to Monday’s draw for the second qualifying round.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, Jenkins (McGowan 78), Briggs (c), Hodgson (Massanka 63), Tee, Kempster (Osei 63). Subs not used: Steavens, Rossiter.
Goals: Tee (17), Osei (84), Adams (90+6).
Image: Kev Wilson.