Match Report: South Shields 2-1 Lancaster City

Match Report: South Shields 2-1 Lancaster City

Darius Osei kept his composure to notch a late winner for South Shields in a hard-fought encounter with Lancaster City on Tuesday.

Osei danced his way past his marker before calmly prodding home 14 minutes from the end as the Mariners saw off a resilient Dolly Blues side with a 2-1 victory at 1st Cloud Arena.

It had threatened to become a frustrating night for Shields when the score was locked at 1-1, with Callum Stead’s early goal on his first start for the club quickly cancelled out by Andrew Teague.

Graham Fenton’s side had to show real patience to clinch the three points and Osei’s strike ensured they remained two points clear at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

Fenton made one change to the team which had beaten Warrington Town 3-2 three days earlier, with Stead replacing Jon Shaw in attack.

The hosts made an inauspicious start, though, as they surrendered possession in their own half and Simon Wills lofted an effort over the bar from distance.

After that, the Mariners established control and almost took the lead in stylish fashion when Osei received the ball with his back to goal just inside the Lancaster half, spun and ran menacingly towards the defence before steering a shot not far wide.

Shields took the lead on the quarter-hour mark as Alex Kempster’s dangerous cross from the left was half-cleared as far as Dan Martin, whose strike was heading wide before hitting Stead, who then reacted quickest to the loose ball to fire home.

Lancaster’s response was impressive and they were level less than two minutes later when Paul Dawson’s header from a corner was cleared off the line and the rebound was swept into the net by Teague.

It was an exciting opening to the game and that theme continued. Kempster set about restoring the Mariners’ advantage with a driving run from the left and an effort which goalkeeper Matthew Alexander did well to push to safety.

The resulting corner led to an even better chance for Osei as Conor Tee picked him out, but this time Alexander saved his header from point-blank range to continue frustrating the home side.

Tee was also off target with an attempt but Shields came closer still to restoring their advantage when Stead struck the post after turning well in the area.

That chance had come after Tom Kilifin had fired narrowly over from a tight angle at the other end as Lancaster threatened to turn the match on its head, with Boney also saving well with his feet from Dawson.

Shields enjoyed their best spell of the game in the early stages of the second half but were unable to capitalise on their dominance.

Tee fired narrowly wide, Osei just failed to convert a low cross from substitute Ntumba Massanka and Massanka himself was denied by the offside flag after a composed finish.

Massanka and fellow substitute Will Jenkins injected real energy to the Mariners’ play but the game appeared to be petering out into a draw until Osei’s intervention in the 76th minute.

Jenkins showed real strength to win the ball in midfield and force it into the box, where Osei twice skipped past the challenge of Glenn Steel before shifting back onto his left foot and beating Alexander with a poked strike.

A succession of late corners led to nothing for the visitors as Shields secured a hard-fought win to take their tally to nine from their opening 11 league games.

They go in search of another important three points when they travel to Nantwich Town on Saturday.

South Shields: Boney, Martin, Bodenham, Briggs, Morse, Ross (c), McGowan (Lowe 61), Tee, Osei, Stead (Massanka 46), Kempster (Jenkins 71). Subs not used: Shaw, Hodgson.

Goals: Stead (15), Osei (76).

Attendance: 1,596