South Shields 0-1 Hebburn Town
By Daniel Prince. Match sponsored by: The Mile.
South Shields were beaten by Shaun Reay’s first half strike as Hebburn Town won the South Tyneside derby 1-0 at Peterlee.
A tight game was decided by Reay’s 18th-minute goal, with Shields unable to put their visitors under enough second half pressure as Scott Oliver’s side left with the points.
Both teams went into the match without their top scorer, with Paul Kane not available for Shields and Channon North suspended for Hebburn.
It was the Mariners who started the stronger, and David Molloy’s low effort on nine minutes produced the first save of the game from Phil Holgate.
Against the run of play, though, it was Hebburn who took the lead in the 18th minute.
Calvin McMahon’s ball into the box was headed goalwards by Josh Allan, and Shields captain Chris Locke acrobatically cleared it off the line. However, the ball dropped to Reay in front of goal, and he hammered a volley home to score what proved to be the winner.
Shields reacted well to going a goal behind, and Stephen Ramsey had a good chance to put them back on level terms on 23 minutes.
Chris Feasey’s through ball went perfectly into the striker’s path, but Ramsey’s eventual effort was well blocked by Alex Downey and the visitors were able to clear.
James Talbot prodded a later effort wide for the Mariners, while Craig Roberts had a shot saved by Holgate after being played in by Ramsey.
Hebburn went close to extending their lead, though, just before the half-hour mark, with a long ball headed out as far as Allan, whose effort from 25 yards trickled just wide of the post.
Shields were forced into a substitution on 32 minutes when Lee Maitland replaced the injured Ramsey, which meant Jon King had to change the side’s formation slightly to suit the personnel.
Maitland started brightly in an advanced midfield role, and a strong run in the centre soon after coming on led to a good chance for Steven Graham. Maitland rolled the ball through for Graham, but his shot was well saved by Holgate.
Roberts poked an effort wide soon after, with the Mariners enjoying their best spell of the game, while an excellent right-wing cross from James Talbot was sliced behind for a corner by Kris Summers.
The resulting corner was punched by Holgate to Maitland, and his header was heading for the top corner before the goalkeeper swiped it away.
Hebburn were coming under increasing pressure, and on 41 minutes, Shields hit the post.
Talbot’s corner from the left was headed out as far as Barrie Smith, who unleashed a piledriver from 25 yards that Holgate did well to tip onto the post.
Locke blocked from Reay on the stroke at half-time as Shields went in at the break with a deficit they did not deserve.
However, Hebburn came racing out of the blocks in the second half and went extremely close to grabbing a second within three minutes of the restart.
A ball over the top forced Steven Hubery to come out of his goal, but he was unable to clear the danger and the ball was played back to McMahon, who chipped a shot towards the net. Fortunately for Shields, Aron Burn raced back to the line and leapt to clear it, just as it appeared McMahon’s shot was about to put Hebburn 2-0 up.
Summers had a great chance from the resulting corner, but prodded wide at the back post from McMahon’s corner.
Reay smashed a free-kick towards goal soon after, but it hit the back of a Shields defender and sailed over the bar.
The Mariners had weathered the Hebburn storm, and then set about the search for an equaliser.
However, they still had to be alert at the other end, with Hubery first keeping out McMahon’s deflected effort before Smith did well to block from Allan.
On 65 minutes, Shields started to pressurise the visiting defence again, with Smith’s free-kick from deep headed out to Feasey, who sent his half volley over from the edge of the box.
A great break from the hosts a minute later saw Maitland get in behind on the right, and his low ball into the centre was just behind Molloy, who lifted his shot over the bar.
Feasey produced a great left-wing cross 13 minutes from the end, but there was nobody to attack it, before Hebburn perhaps should have wrapped up the points on 80 minutes.
McMahon’s deep free-kick on the left found an unmarked Chris Smith in the centre of the box, but he sent his header over as the Mariners breathed a sigh of relief.
Shields substitute Andy Renton got in behind two minutes before the end, but his cross was cut out.
A Feasey free-kick soon after led to a blocked shot from Molloy, and the ball came out to Smith on the edge of the left-side of the box. He powered an effort towards goal, but it swerved away and went just wide of the top corner.
Hubery came up for a corner in stoppage time, and substitute David Conroy eventually headed it back for Roberts, whose shot was blocked as Hebburn did enough to leave Eden Lane with all three points.
Shields will hope to bounce back in their first game of 2015 when they travel to Thornaby in Ebac Northern League Division Two on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Hubery, Ward (Conroy 79), Feasey, Locke (c), Burn, Graham, Talbot (Renton 68), Smith, Ramsey (Maitland 32), Molloy, Roberts. Subs not used: Lawson.
HEBBURN TOWN: Holgate, Summers, Wallace, Pegram, C Smith, Downey, McIntosh (Watson 81), Costello, Reay, Allan (Peterson 74), McMahon (c). Sub not used: Quantrill.
Goal: Reay (18).