Match report: South Shields 1-0 Consett
Darius Osei struck late in the first half to steer South Shields to a third win from three in pre-season against a spirited Consett side at 1st Cloud Arena.
Osei rolled home his third goal in two games on a night the hosts dominated possession and created a number of clear-cut chances, only to be largely kept at bay by an inspired performance from Consett goalkeeper Kyle Hayes.
It was another valuable workout for the Mariners as they emerged 1-0 victors in front of their first four-figure crowd since before the first coronavirus lockdown came into force in March 2020.
Fresh from an impressive 6-1 win over Stockton Town three days earlier, Shields found goals more difficult to come by on this occasion.
However, creativity was not an issue against the Steelmen and they went close to opening the scoring after little more than a minute, with Blair Adams’ drive blocked behind for a corner by the head of defender Nick Allen.
A further presentable opportunity fell the way of Alex Kempster as he got on the end of a Ntumba Massanka cross, but the wideman’s volley was off target.
Shields were in control of proceedings but needed Myles Boney to keep them on level terms when a cross from the right of the area looped goalwards, with the goalkeeper clawing the ball to safety.
Adams netted his first goal of pre-season in the win over Stockton and almost had another in the early stages here as he whistled a low shot narrowly past the post from the left of the area.
Wouter Verstraaten, Osei and Nathan Lowe all had chances to break the deadlock and at the other end, Boney was alert to save with his legs from Dale Pearson as Consett continued to offer the occasional threat.
Allen produced another goal-saving block to deny Conor Tee but it was the visitors who almost took the lead in the 34th minute when Jermaine Metz’s strike from distance took a deflection before clipping the crossbar.
Shields seized the initiative from there and after Callum Ross superbly hassled his opponent to win possession high up the field the ball broke through to Osei, who slid it under Hayes to score what would prove to be the game’s only goal.
Osei – who had been introduced as an early substitute – had two chances to double his tally in first half stoppage time but first saw a shot saved by Hayes before heading over seconds later.
The Mariners started the second half strongly and Osei was again a huge threat, going close with a glancing header from a Lowe corner.
Lowe was at his creative best again less than a minute later with a delightful free-kick which Ntumba Massanka was just unable to get clean contact with on the stretch.
Shields continued to push for a second goal and produced another big chance as Kempster drilled in a superb low cross from the left, but Osei could only turn it wide.
Will McGowan was one of three substitutes brought on during the second half and he almost provided a moment of magic as he attempted a cheeky chip from the inside-left of the box which Hayes was forced to scramble onto the post.
Not to be outdone, fellow replacement Will Jenkins also caught the eye with an excellent turn in the box to beat his defender before firing narrowly over.
Hayes proved to be an unmovable object in the closing stages as he persistently kept Shields at bay.
An Osei strike was blocked and after the Mariners kept the ball alive, McGowan and Sam Hodgson forced Hayes into a sharp double-save to preserve Consett’s chances.
Hayes pulled off an even better stop with three minutes left after Tee skipped inside from the left and unleashed a stinging effort which was destined for the top corner before the goalkeeper tipped it over at full strength.
The second goal would ultimately elude Shields but they were still satisfied by the performance and result against a Consett side expected to seriously challenge for promotion from the Northern League this season.
A Mariners XI will travel to Crook Town in their latest pre-season outing on Wednesday before making the journey to Blyth Spartans on Saturday to compete for the CEFO CFS Challenge Trophy.
South Shields: Boney, Verstraaten, Adams (Tee 24), Agnew, Morse, Ross (Lowe 77), Kempster, Briggs (c) (Jenkins 77), Massanka (Hodgson 77), Lowe (McGowan 62), Tee (Osei 17). Subs not used: Steavens, Rossiter.
Goal: Osei (40).
Image: Kev Wilson.