South Shields 1-0 Chester-le-Street Town
By Philip Reay
Adam Sharp’s late header ensured South Shields made it five wins in a row as they beat Chester-le-Street Town 1-0 at Peterlee.
The Ebac Northern League Division Two game looked to be heading for a draw before Mariners substitute Sharp headed home Colin White’s long throw 10 minutes from the end.
The victory kept Shields sixth in the table ahead of Tuesday’s home game against Northallerton Town.
Neither side was able to create anything in the way of goalscoring opportunities in the opening minutes of Saturday’s game as play was concentrated in the middle of the park.
It was not until the game was approaching the 10th minute that Shields created their first opportunity. A long throw from White found David Conroy and he played the ball into the path of David Molloy, but his strike from 15 yards rattled the crossbar before being hacked clear by the Chester defence.
The long throw proved to be an effective weapon and within minutes it almost led to the opening goal as White found Steven Graham in the Chester box. Graham rose above the defence to head the ball towards the bottom corner of the goal, but he was denied by a goal line clearance from Craig Marron.
On the quarter-hour, James Talbot collected the ball on the halfway line and outpaced the Chester defence before playing the ball into the path of Barrie Smith, but the Shields skipper saw his shot comfortably saved by Aiden Ames in the Chester goal.
Within minutes, the Mariners again went close to opening the scoring. Stephen Ramsey out muscled the Chester defence before playing the ball into the path of Molloy, who controlled the ball before firing a shot on the turn that was blocked by the visitors’ defence.
Chester were offering little in the way of an attacking threat as they resorted to long balls out of defence that were comfortably dealt with by the Shields defence. Their only reward was a series of corners that posed no threat to Steven Hubery in the Mariners goal.
In the closing minutes of the first half, Shields won a corner on the right that was floated into the box by Chris Feasey. Aron Burn rose above the defence to head the ball towards goal, only to be denied by a goal line clearance, and the sides went into the break still level at 0-0.
At the start of the second half, Shields made their first change of the game as James Pickering replaced Conroy, and he was in the thick of the action from the start. Chris Locke attacked down the right flank before crossing the ball into the box, but Pickering sent his header wide of the post.
From the restart, a long ball out of defence found John Honour in space, but his header was tipped over the bar by Hubery and the resulting corner was cleared by Feasey.
With the second half 10 minutes old, Talbot combined with Locke on the right and the latter fired a cross into the box, but Joe Hamblin was on hand to head the ball clear.
A minute later, a short corner by Feasey was played to White by Talbot. White rifled a shot towards goal, but he was denied by his team-mate as the ball struck Ramsey and the danger was cleared.
On the hour, Chester broke clear as Jake Stafford and Ben Johnson combined on the left, but they were unable to trouble Hubery as Johnson’s shot was blocked and cleared by Burn.
Within a minute, the visitors attacked and were awarded a free-kick on the left. Marron fired the ball towards goal, but was denied as Hubery tipped the ball over the bar.
Shields again began to dominate the game, and with 15 minutes remaining a Molloy shot was turned round the post by Ames. The resulting Feasey corner was cleared by former Mariner Jordan Fraser.
Shields continued to press forward as the ever industrious Smith won the ball in the centre of the park before releasing Pickering. He fired a shot at goal that was deflected behind for a corner by Andrew Grant-Soulsby.
The turning point of the game came with 10 minutes remaining. Second half substitute Sharp rose above the defence to head home a long throw from White and the points were secured for the home side.
Shields return to action on Tuesday when they entertain Northallerton Town at Eden Lane from 7.30pm.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Hubery, Locke, Feasey, White, Burn, Smith, Talbot, Graham, Ramsey (Sharp 66), Molloy, Conroy (Pickering 46). Subs not used: Halliday, Renton, Kempster.
Goal: Sharp (80).