Brandon United 0 VS 4 South Shields
South Shields were in dominant form as they got back to winning ways in the league with a thumping 4-0 success at Brandon United.
The Mariners got to grips with the game from the outset, and goals from Daryll Hall, Adam Sakr, Wayne Phillips and Robert Briggs earned them a convincing victory.
Despite Tuesday’s 5-0 beating of Crook Town, Shields expected to face a tough test against a Brandon side which had been in free-scoring form, and had picked up 13 points from their previous six games.
However, it didn’t take long for the visitors to make an impression in front of a travelling support estimated to be between 100 and 150.
Sakr – who was a menace throughout – attacked down the right flank before his cross was met with a bullet header from Briggs, who was denied by a superb fingertip save from home goalkeeper Jack Wilson.
The next opportunity was also created by Sakr, whose cross was volleyed wide by Jonny Wightman at the back post, but on the quarter-hour mark, Shields did strike.
Wightman drilled in a corner from the right, and Hall ran onto it before attacking the header, beating the despairing defender on the line as Jon King’s side took the lead.
It looked only a matter of time before the Mariners’ lead was extended, and Julio Arca almost did just that with a trademark free-kick from 25 yards out, but his effort curled narrowly over.
Briggs also swept a free-kick not far wide, while he was denied again soon after when his effort from a Barrie Smith cross was scrambled to safety.
Arca was the next to be denied as Wilson pushed away his free-kick, and Gilberto Chapim headed just wide after a cross from Sakr as Shields increased the pressure.
Brandon’s first chance came on 33 minutes when Philip Best headed wide a cross from Kieran Weekes, but that didn’t alter the pattern of play as the Mariners continued to dominate.
Ben Riding headed over from a deep Wightman free-kick, while a counter-attack from the visitors led to the industrious Warren Byrne sliding the ball through to Briggs, who was denied by the legs of Wilson.
Wilson also tipped over a header from Riding, and Brandon had the ball in the net before half-time, but Vincent Gash’s effort was ruled out for offside.
At the break, Shields were forced into a double change, with Julio Arca and Gilberto Chapim being withdrawn with knocks and replaced by Phillips and Lewis Galpin.
Smith was therefore pushed into midfield, but the substitutions did not seem to affect the away side.
Byrne had a big opportunity within a minute of the restart, but failed to get enough on a superb Briggs cross.
The Shields top scorer was also denied by the feet of Wilson as he drilled a low cross across goal, while Wilson kept out Michael Turner’s header with his fingertips after he met a corner from Wightman.
The second Mariners goal finally arrived on 53 minutes when Sakr turned outside the box on the right before skipping past his man and firing a low shot into the opposite bottom corner. It was a goal the wideman richly deserved.
After getting his goal, Sakr then went about creating again, and his cross from the right almost led to a goal just before the hour mark, but Byrne failed to get enough on it and then Briggs’ effort was blocked.
Shields did not have to wait long to grab a third goal, though, with Phillips virtually sealing the three points on 65 minutes. Turner played the ball into him on the inside left of the box, and he slid it into the bottom-right corner to mark his return to action with a goal.
Briggs added his name to the scoresheet four minutes later in fortuitous circumstances as his free-kick struck the wall before bouncing into the net off the post.
Hall headed over from a Phillips corner soon after, while Byrne had a shot blocked before Weekes was sent off for the hosts for two bookable offences.
Wightman went close as he drilled wide from 20 yards, but Shields had by then long since secured their victory ahead of Tuesday’s home game against Team Northumbria in the League Cup.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Turner, Hall (c), Riding, Chapim (Galpin 46), Sakr, Arca (Phillips 46), Byrne, Briggs (Noble 71), Wightman. Subs not used: Young, Ramsey.
Goals: Hall (15), Sakr (53), Phillips (65), Briggs (69).