South Shields 0-2 Team Northumbria
By Daniel Prince. Match sponsored by: Shaun Matthias.
South Shields were beaten by two second half goals as promotion-chasing Team Northumbria won 2-0 at Peterlee on Saturday.
Louis Storey and Joshua Draycott scored the goals which inflicted defeat on the Mariners, who were playing for the first time in three weeks.
Shields made two changes from the team which won 2-1 at Darlington RA on January 17, with Steven Hubery replacing the unavailable Niki Lawson in goal, and Baptiste Fixot coming in to make his debut in midfield, with Chris Renshaw unavailable.
It was the Mariners who had the first chance of the game after Barrie Smith was fouled 25 yards from goal, but Chris Feasey lifted the free-kick over.
On six minutes, Hubery kept Shields level with an excellent save from Storey.
Ben Dibb-Fuller rolled the ball through for Storey, and his powerful effort was brilliantly palmed over by Hubery.
At this point, both sides were fashioning chances, and some fine play from James Talbot on the right for the hosts almost led to an opening for Lee Maitland, with the ball played just in front of him.
Hubery was on hand to make another impressive stop on 10 minutes when Dibb-Fuller held up a ball sent over the top before playing it back for Draycott, whose low effort was parried.
Chris Locke sent a shot well over at the other end, while Paul Kane also lifted an effort just wide before Ben Riding had a header which went half a yard past the post.
Team Northumbria’s main dangers appeared to lurk in the wide areas, with Dibb-Fuller and Luke Hannant both constantly threatening, and the visitors enjoyed the better of the rest of the first half.
Riding produced a fine block to deny Draycott, while Hubery kept out an effort from Liam McNamara after he beat his man on the right before cutting inside onto his left foot and shooting.
Chris Rue kept it goalless on 35 minutes with a goal-saving clearance. Dibb-Fuller passed the ball across the face of goal, and Draycott looked certain to tap it in before Rue leapt across, got there first and put it out for a corner.
With the pressure increasing, Team Northumbria hit the bar five minutes before the break. Draycott’s low cross found Storey in the six yard box, and his hooked shot on the turn hit the woodwork before bouncing to safety.
Although the visitors had looked the more likely to open the scoring, Shields almost took a lead into half-time.
Kane had an effort deflected not far wide, and from the resulting corner, his header was cleared off the line by Draycott.
Both teams regrouped at the break, and Shields had the better of things immediately after the interval.
An opportunity arrived on 55 minutes when the hosts enjoyed some good possession before Rue pulled the ball back from the right, and Smith half volleyed a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.
Kane worked an opportunity for himself soon after when he brought the ball in from the left, but he fired it into the side netting.
Shields looked the likelier side to break the deadlock, but it was Team Northumbria who struck the decisive blow in the 65th minute.
McNamara dribbled the ball inside from the right, and his shot looked set to be collected by Hubery. However, the goalkeeper could only parry the effort to the feet of Storey, who touched the ball around him before stroking it into the empty net.
Maitland had the ball in the net at the other end, but the goal was ruled out for offside, and the visitors sealed their win 17 minutes from time.
Feasey played the ball back to Riding deep inside his own half, and he turned it back to Hubery. Under pressure from Dibb-Fuller, Hubery tried to dribble it around the Team Northumbria player but was dispossessed, and the ball was played across to Storey. He hammered a shot that was brilliantly cleared off the line by Aron Burn, but the ball bounced straight into the path of Draycott, who drilled it first time into the roof of the net.
The visitors were able to protect their two-goal lead from then, with Shields restricted to mainly half chances.
Kane shot well over and wide from 25 yards, while substitute Stephen Ramsey’s effort was deflected not far past the post.
The Mariners’ best opportunity fell to Burn after Feasey’s corner eventually found him, but Mark Bertram did well to clear it off the line.
The last effort was from another substitute, Ryan Bolam, but his shot went over as Shields fell to a 2-0 defeat.
They will hope to bounce back on Tuesday, when they host Birtley Town at Peterlee in the quarter-final of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Hubery, Rue, Feasey, Burn, Riding, Locke (c), Talbot (Ramsey 68), Fixot (Bolam 82), Maitland, Smith (D Pickering 77), Kane. Subs not used: Crutwell, Ward.
TEAM NORTHUMBRIA: Jennison, McNamara, Tumilty, Bertram, McKeown, Murdock, Draycott, Antony, Storey (c), Dibb-Fuller, Hannant. Subs (from): Fisher, Stokle, Perez, J Bradley, Read.
Goals: Storey (65), Draycott (73).