Northallerton Town 4-0 South Shields
By Daniel Prince
South Shields were well beaten by Northallerton Town on Wednesday as they played for the third time in five days.
After Saturday’s 3-1 win at Stokesley Sports Club and Monday’s 4-2 loss at Jarrow Roofing, Shields struggled to get going at Northallerton, and were soundly beaten 4-0.
Jon King’s side did start brightly, though.
Chris Feasey sent a free-kick over the bar within a minute, while Liam Clark’s volley from distance went so far over that it went out of the ground.
However, it was a promising opening for the Mariners, and proved to be their best spell of the match.
From the eighth minute onwards, Northallerton – who are seventh in Northern League Division Two – took control.
Andrew Porritt almost gave them the lead, but his firm shot across goal was deflected wide after he was found by a cross from the right.
Colin Anderson and Christian Holliday both sent shots wide on the turn around the quarter-hour mark, but the signs were there that the home side’s opening goal was on its way.
Shields had a half-chance to take the lead themselves on 16 minutes when Northallerton goalkeeper Ryan Hodgson fumbled a cross from the left, but the Town defence scrambled it to safety.
Northallerton broke the deadlock two minutes later with an impressive goal.
After some decent play in the middle, a ball over the top found Anderson, who controlled the ball on his chest before firing first time past Jak Wells in the Shields goal.
Porritt hit the post on 21 minutes, but the offside flag was up.
By now, the home side were starting to dominate proceedings, and a scramble in the Mariners penalty area eventually led to a Grant Hickman effort being deflected wide.
Shields were able to conjure up the odd chance, though, and Stephen Ramsey headed over after a short corner routine between Alex Berhan and Clark.
Northallerton went two up on 34 minutes when Holliday struck.
He tapped in after Hickman’s header from a corner came back off the bar, with the Shields defence slow to react to the danger.
Anderson saw a shot parried by Wells after he cut in from the left, but the Mariners had a good chance to get a goal back before the break.
Ramsey found himself with an opening just inside the box, but he opted for precision over power and his shot did not have enough pace to beat Hodgson, who palmed it to safety.
Town could have put the game to bed 10 minutes after half-time, but Hickman’s header from a Gavin Parkin cross went over.
It did not take them long to get their third, though, which came just a minute later.
Holliday grabbed his second when a long throw from the left was flicked into his path by Anderson, leaving him the simple task of nodding past Wells.
The fourth and final goal for the home side arrived in the 61st minute, with Anderson completing his brace when he tapped into an empty net from Dale Elgie’s pass.
Shields continued to look for a consolation goal, with Berhan and Ramsey both seeing efforts from distance saved by Hodgson.
However, Northallerton could well have gone home with a 5-0 victory, only for Wells to produce a fine stop to deny substitute Christopher Burton, who had poked the ball goalwards.
In truth, the Mariners were second best for most of the game, and will hope to pick themselves up ahead of North Shields’ visit to Peterlee on Saturday (3.07 kickoff).
SOUTH SHIELDS: Wells, L Clark (Kwalangana 73), Riding, Halliday, White, Locke, Berhan, Richardson (Greenwell 66), Ramsey (c), Sweeney, Feasey. Subs not used: McLean, King.