South Shields 0-0 Willington
By Philip Reay
Following a break of eight weeks in a frustrating winter period, South Shields entertained Willington on Saturday at Eden Lane.
A visibly ring rusty side retained their title of Ebac Northern League draw specialists as they played out a goalless draw, their 12th of the season.
One of several changes to the Shields side saw veteran shot stopper Simon Parkin don the keepers gloves for the first time since December 2011, and his loyalty was rewarded with Shields’ first clean sheet in the league this season.
Shields’ first opportunity of the game fell on nine mins following the award of a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
Ricky Fenwick floated the ball into the box towards Stephen Ramsey, who rose above the defence to head the ball towards goal, but with the keeper beaten he was denied by the crossbar.
The game saw little more goalmouth action until the 36th minute, and it was again Ramsey in action.
Once again he beat Moffatt in the Willington goal, but this time a goal line clearance by a defender frustrated the Shields striker; the clearance fell to Elliott Cutts, but his shot flew over the bar.
Within a minute, Shields again threatened when Luke Richardson collected the ball inside the Willington box, but he fired his shot over the bar and the sides left the field at the break still locked at 0-0.
Willington pressed forward at the start of the second half, and James Seymour fired a free kick into the box towards Stephen Howe, but he saw his header fly over the bar.
With the game approaching the 55th minute, Shields were awarded a free-kick on the right flank; Adam Burnicle curled the ball towards goal but again just wide of the post.
On the hour, Burnicle broke forward, collected a ball from midfield and raced towards goal, but his control let him down as the ball rolled out for a Willington goal kick.
From the restart, Willington pressed forward, however once again they failed to capitalise as Howe again headed wide.
Shields defender Colin White went close to breaking the deadlock on 67 minutes, as he collected the ball 20 yards from goal and rifled a shot through a crowd of people that flew narrowly wide.
The Mariners maintained the pressure on the Willington defence; Burnicle controlled the ball before firing a shot at goal that was cleared off the line by Moffatt in the Willington goal.
In the closing stages of the game Burnicle was again denied by Moffatt.
Willington had an opportunity to claim the points in the last minute of the game following the award of a free-kick on the left, and once again the chance fell to Howe, but as in his previous chances he headed wide and the game ended all square at 0-0.