South Shields 4 VS 0 Hyde United
South Shields produced one of their most convincing performances of the season as they swept to a 4-0 win over Hyde United at Mariners Park.
The Mariners were in command throughout as they moved level on points with second-placed Warrington Town in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
Lee Mason put them ahead in the first half after good link-up with the terrific David Foley, and goals after the break from Craig Baxter, Nathan Lowe and Dillon Morse made the points safe.
Shields were anticipating a tough game against a side which had beaten them 4-1 in the reverse fixture in October.
However, they banished those memories with a display which had a bumper crowd of more than 1,850 purring.
Foley was at the heart of much of the Mariners’ impressive attacking play without getting on the scoresheet himself.
He signalled his intentions as early as the third minute when he got in behind the Hyde defence on the right of the area and cut the ball back towards Morse, but a defender nipped in first just as the Shields number five was about to slam it home.
Baxter had a good opportunity to open the scoring soon after when Lowe played him in, but he smashed an effort narrowly over the crossbar.
Hyde’s best spell of the match came around the 20 minute mark, but Liam Connell was on hand to make a smart stop from the dangerous Paddy Lane.
Lane again caused the Mariners problems when he advanced down the left and fired a ball across goal which Connell parried before Jon Shaw cleared the ball to safety.
Shields responded emphatically to Hyde’s bright period and opened the scoring in style in the 24th minute.
Robert Briggs won the ball 10 yards inside his own half and spread it wide to Foley on the right. He sprinted forward, beat his man with some superb skill and pulled a low cross into the area which Mason met first time with a piledriver into the roof of the net from 12 yards.
It was terrific play from both forwards, with Foley’s fine skill and end product met with equally impressive movement from Mason, and a finish to match.
Briggs was unfortunate not to double Shields’ lead eight minutes before half-time when his free-kick from 25 yards rattled the crossbar, but the hosts had plenty of positives to take into the half-time interval.
They picked up where they left off after the break and it took them less than three minutes to stretch their advantage to two.
Again, some fine movement was on display from Shields’ attackers as Blair Adams, Mason, Foley and Luke Daly linked up before Foley hit the post and the ball rebounded to the advancing Baxter, who slammed it home.
Hyde could have pulled a goal back moments later, but Morse brilliantly blocked from Kyle Brownhill and Connell made a good near-post save to deny Lane.
The points were then made safe in the 55th minute as Foley teed up Lowe 20 yards from goal and he thumped the ball past Hyde goalkeeper Peter Crook for his seventh goal in Shields colours.
The Mariners were rampant now and could have gone further ahead, but Morse was denied by a block and Lowe saw a free-kick saved by Crook.
The fourth goal eventually arrived a minute from the end after another spell of Shields dominance on the ball as Lowe curled in a teasing free-kick from the left which Morse helped on its way to the corner of the net with a glancing header.
It was an impressive performance and result for the Mariners, who were backed by a superbly vocal home support as they kept the pressure on Farsley and Warrington above them.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Adams (Lough 84), Shaw (c), Morse, Turnbull, Daly, Briggs (Cogdon 80), Mason (Bell 71), Lowe, Foley. Subs not used: Mouanda, Thompson.
Goals: Mason (24), Baxter (48), Lowe (55), Morse (89).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.