Match Report: South Shields 1-1 Ashton United
South Shields and Ashton United played out a 1-1 draw as the Mariners failed to win for just the second time this season at 1st Cloud Arena.
Both goals were scored inside the first 13 minutes, with Will McGowan bringing Shields back on level terms on his first start for the club after they had fallen behind early on.
The Robins took the lead in just the fifth minute as Sam Sheridan curled in a superb cross from the right and Liam Tomsett stooped to head it past Myles Boney.
It was part of a bright opening by the visitors which also included a powerful strike from Nathan Ntalu which hit the back of Jack Bodenham’s head as it arrowed towards goal.
Shields’ threat gradually increased in the early stages and after Jordan Hunter fired over from distance, McGowan brought them back on level terms on 13 minutes.
It was a beautifully well-worked goal by the Mariners as Conor Tee played a perfectly weighted reverse pass into McGowan’s path and the teenager was coolness personified to slide the ball into the bottom corner.
The home side were mainly restricted to efforts from distance in the remainder of the first half as the likes of Blair Adams and Robert Briggs took aim, but were unable to test goalkeeper Oliver Martin.
At the other end, Bodenham was on hand to snuff out two further Ashton half-chances with blocks, but the sides went in at the break level.
The game followed a similar pattern in the early stages of the second half as both teams found opportunities difficult to come by as they searched for some rhythm.
The Mariners thought they had gone in front on the hour mark, but Ntumba Massanka’s celebrations were short-lived after the hosts were penalised for an offside in the build-up.
Manager Graham Fenton introduced teenage midfielder Blair Rossiter from the bench for his senior debut, and extra impetus was brought to the game after a number of feisty exchanges between the sides.
That did not result in more clear-cut chances, though, with Adams unable to get clean contact on an effort which trickled wide, Tee testing Martin from long range and Rossiter having a strike blocked.
Shields produced their best football of the second half on 79 minutes as they attacked with pace down the right and Hunter’s dangerous low cross was cut out just before it could reach Massanka in the centre.
Although they enjoyed much of the possession and territory in the closing stages, the Mariners were unable to convert them into a second goal as both sides were forced to settle for a point. The closest the home side came in the closing stages was a deflected 20 yards strike by Briggs which Martin comfortably saved.
Shields are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Hyde United in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Briggs (c), Morse, Bodenham, Osei (Kempster 56), Jenkins (Rossiter 64), Massanka, Tee, McGowan (Shaw 73). Subs not used: Steavens, Hodgson.
Goals: McGowan (13).
Image: Kev Wilson.