North Shields 4-3 South Shields
By Daniel Prince
South Shields were beaten in the most frustrating of circumstances after a thrilling derby match at North Shields.
The Mariners – who were reduced to 10 men just before half-time when goalkeeper Jak Wells was sent off – fought valiantly and deserved to take something from the game before the home side won it with the last kick.
Jon King’s side fell behind early on when Robins striker Gareth Bainbridge gave his side the lead after a ball over the top.
The forward looked suspiciously offside, but the goal was given.
However, South Shields were level in the ninth minute when they were awarded a penalty in the top left corner of the box, and Stephen Ramsey sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Just four minutes later, the turnaround was complete as Luke Richardson made a strong run into the box before the ball fell into the path of Adam Burnicle, who fired it in.
North Shields were so nearly level soon after, but Wells somehow turned Bainbridge’s header onto the bar at point-blank range after a ball over from the left.
The ball bounced onto the line after hitting the bar, and the Mariners then cleared it away to safety.
The moment which was to change the game happened just before the break, though.
North Shields found Dean Holmes in the box, and as he touched it around Wells, the referee decided the goalkeeper brought him down.
After consulting his linesman, the referee decided to send the Mariners keeper off, much to Wells’ frustration, as he claimed he had not touched the forward.
With no outfield keeper on the bench, Colin White went in goal, and Bainbridge sent him the wrong way from the spot to bring the scores level going into the break.
Lewis Turnbull took the gloves at the start of the second half, and was beaten on 58 minutes when Kevin Hughes punished the stand-in goalkeeper when he spilled a free-kick.
Later in the half, Ramsey went in goal, making him the fourth different Shields player between the sticks in one game.
With time running out, the Mariners looked to have snatched a late, dramatic and deserved point when substitute Dan Hindmarsh did brilliantly to turn in a long throw when he fired in on the turn.
North Shields had a fantastic chance to take the points with two minutes of normal time left, but Bainbridge was brilliantly denied by Ramsey and then somehow smashed the rebound over the bar when it looked easier to hit the target.
However, they were to have one last late, late chance, and when a corner found its way to the far post as the game entered its 95th minute, John Parker struck it goalwards, and the men on the line were unable to keep it out. It proved to be the last kick of the game.
It was an undeserved defeat for South Shields as they fought hard throughout and, even with 10 men, did not concede too many chances against a side which went top of the league with the three points.
Against a side which had conceded just 10 league goals all season prior to the match, it was an admirable effort from the Mariners, but ultimately they suffered a body blow at the end when it looked as though they had done enough to claim a point.
It was a sensational game played in front of a bumper crowd of 367 – a record for a league game since North Shields was reformed in 1992 – and certainly whets the appetite for future fixtures between the two Shields clubs.
South Shields will look to bounce back after the late disappointment when they play Northallerton Town at Peterlee’s Eden Lane ground in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup on Tuesday, with the kick-off at 7.30pm.
NORTH SHIELDS: Ball, Donnison, Grey, Richardson, Parker, Hughes, Holmes, Forster, Bainbridge, Smart, Wrightson. Subs: Elliott, Mbiavanga, Scope.
Goals: Bainbridge (6, pen 45), Hughes (58), Parker (90+5).
SOUTH SHIELDS: Wells, Houshby (Sweeney 66), Olabode, Clarke (Locke 46), White, Riding, Smith (c), Richardson (Hindmarsh 64), Ramsey, Burnicle, Turnbull. Subs not used: Young, Feasey.
Goals: Ramsey (pen 9), Burnicle (13), Hindmarsh (85).
Booked: Clarke (40), White (57), Sweeney (89), Riding (90+3).
Sent off: Wells (44).