South Shields 1-2 Washington
By Daniel Prince
Former South Shields player Chris Winn returned to haunt his old club with a brace as Washington ran out 2-1 winners at Peterlee.
Winn – who also scored in the reverse fixture earlier this season – struck midway through each half, with Shields punished for missing several good chances.
The Mariners were under pressure from the first minute, with veteran goalkeeper Simon Parkin – standing in for the injured Jak Wells – making a fine reaction save to prevent an own goal by Ben Riding.
A Washington long throw had been inadvertently headed on by Riding, with Parkin doing well to get down low and palm it wide.
Tito Davidson was denied by visiting goalkeeper Neal Atkinson two minutes later after a scuffed effort, before Shields – looking for a third win in a row – had a great chance to level.
A ball over the top from Elliot Cutts put Stephen Ramsey through on goal, but his effort did not have enough on it to beat Atkinson, who tipped it wide.
Another fantastic opportunity came and went on 21 minutes after Riding’s long throw beat Atkinson, but Adam Sharp and Shaun Smith could not quite connect to send it into the empty net.
Washington took the lead against the run of play on 27 minutes.
Atkinson’s long ball over the top got past the Shields defence, and Winn was on hand to expertly chip the ball over the onrushing Parkin and into the net.
Winn’s shot from just outside the box on the left seemed to hang in the air for an age, before dropping in.
The Mariners had a good chance to equalise almost immediately, but Chris Feasey’s low pass across goal from the left was blazed over by Luke Richardson.
Sharp saw another strong effort for Shields tipped wide by Atkinson, who was keeping the Mariners at bay.
He again came to Washington’s rescue a minute before half-time when Sharp was put through on goal by a Davidson pass, with Atkinson saving with his foot as the Shields man tried to shoot across goal.
The second half was a quieter affair, with Washington improving considerably.
They had a decent chance to go two up 13 minutes after the restart, but first James Fairley was stopped by a block from Sharp, and then Parkin held onto a header from Mark Davison.
Washington did get their second on 65 minutes, with Winn tapping into an empty net after a fine pass across the face of goal by Adam McGuinness.
Parkin made a great save from Fairley 14 minutes from the end after the Washington man burst through on the right, before Shields rallied and tried to launch a late comeback.
Substitute Kyle Houshby cut inside from the left and sent a curling effort just wide, while Riding blazed well over from in front of goal after some slack defending.
Washington’s Michael Roberts inexplicably kept the ball in play by backheeling it into Riding’s path, but the Shields defender could not find his fifth goal in three games.
Houshby fired a low free-kick that was just held by Atkinson, before the Mariners did get the goal their pressure deserved on 80 minutes.
From the right, Smith found substitute Cameron Foster just inside the box, and he curled his effort beyond Atkinson and into the bottom corner to hand the home side a lifeline.
Roberts trickled a shot wide for Washington, but Shields continued to press, with Sharp heading an effort wide after a long throw from Riding.
Sharp then had an even better chance when a corner was flicked on by goalkeeper Parkin – who had gone up in the search for an equaliser – but he could only prod his effort into the hands of Atkinson from in front of goal.
An entertaining game ended in Washington’s favour, with the Mariners left to reflect on their host of missed chances.
Shields are again in action on Thursday, with Brandon United the visitors to Peterlee, and they will end their season with another home game, against Ryton & Crawcrook Albion, on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Parkin, Halliday (Houshby 62), Riding, Locke, Davidson, Cutts, Richardson, Sharp, Ramsey, S Smith, Feasey (Foster 70). Subs not used: Greenwell.
Goal: Foster (80).