Witton Albion 3 VS 1 South Shields
South Shields’ eight-match winning run in the BetVictor Northern Premier Division came to an end as Witton Albion registered an impressive 3-1 victory.
The Mariners enjoyed much of the possession and territory but were ultimately undone by their hosts, who had taken the lead from the penalty spot in the first half.
Robert Briggs restored parity but Shields were level for less than two minutes before Witton made it a quickfire double to ensure they would take the three points.
Results elsewhere meant the Mariners remained 10 points clear at the top of the table.
Lee Picton and Graham Fenton made just one change to the team which beat Stalybridge Celtic 2-1 four days earlier, with Craig Baxter selected in place of Adam Thurston.
They started brightly and created their first opportunity in just the third minute as Blair Adams’ cross from the left found its way to Baxter, who had an effort blocked.
Nathan Lowe was not far off target with a powerful shot from the edge of the area soon after as Shields started to flex their muscles.
Clear-cut chances were hard to come by, though, and despite dominating the early possession, the Mariners were unable to seriously test home goalkeeper Chris Renshaw until midway through the first half.
That is when Shields started to build some momentum, with Phil Turnbull having a shot from just outside the box blocked before they created their best opportunity of the half.
Front two Sanmi Odelusi and David Foley linked up well before Foley found himself in space in the centre of the area, but his low effort was well saved by the legs of Renshaw.
Against the run of play, Witton broke forward in the 33rd minute and Michael Monaghan ran in behind before the referee ruled Dillon Morse had tripped him and awarded a penalty.
Danny McKenna struck a powerful spot-kick into the top corner as the hosts broke the deadlock.
The Mariners thought they had levelled on the stroke of half-time when Baxter’s delicate cross from the right was headed in by Odelusi, but the offside flag cut short their celebrations.
Shields responded well after the break and deservedly pulled level just after the hour mark.
Effective probing eventually lead to Adams receiving the ball in space on the left of the box and when his driven cross was parried by Renshaw, Briggs placed a shot superbly into the bottom corner.
The Mariners were the team with the momentum and would have felt confident of going on to claim all three points, but things unravelled almost immediately to leave them returning home with nothing.
Less than two minutes after the restart, Witton were back in front as a cross from the left was headed in by Will Jones, who was rewarded for his smart movement in the box.
Shields almost scored what would have been a third goal in four minutes when the ball squirmed from Renshaw’s grasp and Foley lifted it over him, but a defender raced back to the line to head it clear and save the hosts.
It was end-to-end stuff but the home side delivered what proved to be the decisive blow on 67 minutes when a ball over the top was raced onto by Connor Heath, who got there before Myles Boney and took it around the goalkeeper before finishing with impressive composure.
The Mariners had chances to reduce the deficit in the closing stages but Renshaw would not be beaten, saving well from Lowe and Briggs as Witton saw the game out effectively.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Turnbull (Thurston 66), Morse, Brown, Baxter, Lowe, Odelusi (Gilchrist 55), Briggs (c), Foley. Subs not used: Wokoma, Charlton, Shaw.
Goal: Briggs (61).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.