Match Report: South Shields 3-1 Gainsborough Trinity
South Shields returned to winning ways as they came from behind to comfortably beat Gainsborough Trinity 3-1 at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday.
Conor Tee registered a goal and two assists to help the Mariners turn the game around after Alex Wollerton had fired the visitors into an early lead.
Tee’s cross was headed home by Will McGowan just before the midway point in the first half to bring Shields back on level terms and he turned from provider to goalscorer on 51 minutes, cannoning a strike into the top corner from the right of the area.
JJ Hooper tapped in on his home debut from a Tee pass to complete the scoring as the hosts moved level on points with Matlock Town at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
The Mariners had been out of action for two weeks leading into this fixture and were looking for a fast start, with McGowan, Hooper and Cedric Main introduced to the starting line-up in place of Robert Briggs and suspended duo Dan Martin and Darius Osei.
It was the away side which came out of the blocks the quicker, though, and they went ahead on five minutes as a dangerous corner broke to Wollerton on the edge of the box and he struck a low effort beyond Myles Boney.
Shields found their feet as the half grew on. A brilliant delivery by Tee just evaded Hooper, who was closing in on goal, and it was not long until they found the breakthrough.
It arrived on 21 minutes when another fantastic cross by Tee found its way to McGowan at the far post, and he guided a header which gave Matt Yates no chance in the Gainsborough goal.
A mix up between Boney and Nathan Lowe almost allowed Trinity to regain their advantage soon after. Brad Grayson stole the ball away from Lowe, but Boney brilliantly kept out his effort with his feet.
Hooper was a bright spark on his first start for the Mariners and almost registered his first goal for the club 10 minutes before half-time when a wonderful piece of chest control opened up space for a powerful shot, but Yates pushed it to safety.
On the stroke of half-time, the visitors came within inches of retaking the lead. A free-kick from the left by Joe Wilson which appeared to be intended as a cross evaded everyone and skimmed past the far post.
Only moments after the break, Main almost produced a special goal for Shields. A magnificent solo attempt saw Main conjure a shooting chance for himself, but Yates just denied the forward.
Shields continued their early pressure in the second half, and it paid off as Tee gave the Mariners the lead with a powerful effort. He had plenty of space on the right of the box to set himself, and he powered the ball off the crossbar and into the net.
Toby Gould had an opportunity to bring the scores level again, but his strike from the edge of the area cleared the crossbar and only moments later, the Mariners extended their lead.
Hooper marked his home debut with a goal as Tee squared the ball to the number nine after being played in down the right, and all he had to do was tap into an empty net.
Gainsborough came close to halving their deficit when Grayson fired a powerful volley towards goal, but Boney somehow tipped the effort behind for a corner.
The second half proved to be a feisty affair at times but Shields kept their composure to see the game out and claim a welcome three points.
They return to action next Saturday when they travel to Stafford Rangers in the league.
South Shields: Boney, Adams (c), Kempster, Ross, Morse, Bodenham, Tee, McGowan (Briggs 68), Hooper, Lowe, Main (Jenkins 83). Subs: Steavens, Shaw, Hodgson.
Goals: McGowan (21), Tee (51), Hooper (69).
Image: Kev Wilson.