South Shields 2-1 Consett: Mariners kick-off pre-season with win
South Shields returned to action with a win as they began their pre-season programme against Consett at Mariners Park on Friday.
New signing Josh Gillies and midfielder Dan Lowther were on target as the Mariners defeated their Northern League opponents 2-1.
Lee Picton and Graham Fenton fielded a side which included Gillies and fellow new boy Phil Turnbull, and they started brightly as they gained control of possession.
A trialist went close to giving the hosts the lead in the eighth minute when he brilliantly tricked his way past a defender on the inside-left of the box before curling a shot over.
Gillies showed his quality with a through ball to Michael Richardson soon after, but the midfielder saw his effort blocked.
Shields kept up the pressure and got their reward on 17 minutes when Carl Finnigan laid the ball off to Gillies, who kept his composure and slotted home from 12 yards.
Turnbull tested visiting goalkeeper Ross Coombes with a drive from the edge of the box later in the half, but the Consett youngster was equal to the effort as he pushed it away.
At the other end, Liam Connell kept out two long-range attempts by Calvin Smith, and the closest Shields came to extending their lead before half-time came when Richardson fizzed a low shot across the box which just evaded a touch.
The Mariners changed their entire team at half-time, with Gary Brown and Chris Hunter among those brought on as they made their first appearances for the club.
A trialist twice went close to extending the home side’s lead, and Matty Pattison was one of the main bright sparks as he started pre-season in sharp form.
Some good work by Pattison on the right led to a chance for youngster Arron Thompson, but his shot was flicked off the line.
Consett did have some bright moments, and striker Michael Sweet may have thought he had equalised when his sweet strike arrowed towards goal, but Brown was on hand to brilliantly block and clear the danger.
Less than a minute later, Shields doubled their lead as Pattison again caught the eye by keeping possession and then teasing the ball past the defence to Lowther, who rolled it into the bottom corner.
Pattison and Lowther had opportunities to make it three but the Mariners did not find the mark again.
In the end, it was Consett who had the final say as Josh Gray picked out the bottom corner with the final kick of the game.
SOUTH SHIELDS (first half): Connell, Baxter, Trialist, Lough, Morse, Turnbull, Richardson, Smith (c), Finnigan, Trialist, Gillies.
SOUTH SHIELDS (second half): Stephenson, Hunter, Cooper, Shaw, Brown, Ross, Pattison, Thompson, Lowther, Trialist, Cowburn.
Goals: Gillies (17), Lowther (69).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.