South Shields 3-1 West Auckand Town
South Shields registered their first victory of pre-season on an entertaining night against West Auckland Town at 1st Cloud Arena.
Goals from Nathan Lowe, a trialist and Will McCamley were enough for the Mariners against a strong West Auckland side featuring former Shields players Tom Flynn and Chris Hunter.
It was a positive night’s work for Shields as they showed improved fluency and peppered the West goal with efforts.
They took the lead in the seventh minute as Wouter Verstraaten claimed the ball on halfway and played it into the feet of Lowe, who took two touches before belting a shot which glanced the underside of the bar before finding the target.
The Mariners had an opportunity to double their advantage soon after when Alex Kempster surged down the right and cut inside before firing a left-foot effort past the post.
Shields were in control but their Northern League visitors pegged them back in the 19th minute thanks to some sharp play on the left as Craig Baxter was robbed of possession by Anthony Bell before he squared it to Mason Hurworth, who converted into an empty net.
The home side quickly regained the initiative and went close to going back in front when Jason Gilchrist’s shot from 20 yards was palmed behind by Flynn.
The Mariners had to wait until seven minutes before half-time to regain the lead, with Kempster running in behind down the left before his cross found the head of a trialist, who found the corner of the net.
There were numerous opportunities for a third goal in the remainder of the first half but Gilchrist was denied by the offside flag before Arron Thompson forced Flynn into a low save after some neat work in the middle.
Gary Brown almost made his mark in spectacular fashion 10 minutes into the first half following some superb one-touch play involving Robert Briggs and Kempster, but his eventual left-foot effort was parried. Shields kept the ball alive and a further shot by their trialist forced another save.
Callum Ross sent a long range shot not far wide from distance while the Mariners passed up a glorious opportunity for goal number three when Verstraaten progressed through the centre and opted to pass it onto Will Jenkins, who was unable to get an effort away. The ball eventually squirmed out to McCamley, whose shot trickled against the post as Shields were denied.
They did not have to wait too much longer for their third goal, though, and it arrived when Ross and Mathew Wade combined on the right and the latter sent in a cross which was retrieved by Sam Hodgson and laid off to McCamley, who fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Jenkins and Hodgson both had opportunities in the closing stages to add their names to the scoresheet but there were to be no further goals as Shields registered a 3-1 win.
South Shields: Boney (Coombe 74), Baxter (Wade 61), Adams (Croft 61), Ross (Thompson 30), Morse (Verstraaten 61), Verstraaten (Brown 30), Kempster (McCamley 61), Briggs (c) (Ross 61), Gilchrist (Hodgson 61), Lowe (Jenkins 61), McCamley (Trialist 30). Subs not used: Lockey.
Goals: Lowe (7), Trialist (38), McCamley (73).