South Shields 4-0 Ryton
By Daniel Prince. Match sponsored by: Bolam Premier Sportswear.
South Shields maintained their strong late-season form with a superb 4-0 win over Ryton and Crawcrook Albion on Saturday.
Chris Feasey, Ben Riding, Barrie Smith and Paul Kane were on target at Peterlee as the Mariners made it three wins in a row.
The result was never in doubt, and Shields could have wrapped up an even bigger scoreline against a Ryton side which was reduced to 10 men just before half-time.
Feasey handed the hosts a perfect start when he opened the scoring after just 63 seconds.
Riding’s long throw from the right deceived visiting goalkeeper Conor Gillespie and dropped in front of goal for Feasey, who prodded home.
Riding went from provider to goalscorer on eight minutes as Shields strengthened their grip on the game.
Michael Turner curled in a terrific free-kick from the right, and Riding looped a header from 10 yards over the goalkeeper and in off the bar.
Shields were rampant, and Stephen Ramsey almost made it 3-0 on the quarter-hour mark when Kane sent in a cross, but Gillespie kept out the striker’s header from point-blank range.
Ryton’s first half-opportunity fell to Will Forsyth on 21 minutes, but he dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box.
Normal service was soon resumed, with the Mariners dominating the play, and Kane went close when he latched onto a ball over the top before firing an effort across goal which went just wide.
Forsyth sent another shot wide at the other end, while Ramsey had two efforts blocked for Shields.
The Mariners sensed they could kill the game off before half-time, and they had several other chances to score a third.
A terrific corner from Turner was controlled by Riding but then prodded over, while the same player later had the ball in the net, only to have the goal ruled out for offside.
A minute before half-time, Gillespie fumbled a Chris Rue cross and the ball dropped towards Lee Maitland, but he was just unable to get a toe on it to send it home.
A huge talking point arrived a minute into first half stoppage time when a through ball sent Smith through on goal.
As he advanced, he was clipped by Mark McMeekin around 30 yards from goal, but stayed on his feet and looked set to score before the referee blew for the free-kick and showed the Ryton defender a red card for a professional foul.
That left the visitors with a mountain to climb in the second half, when Shields’ dominance only became greater as they created chance after chance.
Feasey was particularly threatening on the left, and his cross three minutes after the break narrowly missed Kane before being headed behind for a corner.
Maitland had a shot saved by Gillespie before Smith ended any doubts as to the outcome of the game on 51 minutes.
A ball over the top led to a challenge between Gillespie and Kane, and although the Ryton goalkeeper got there first to head the ball away, he could only clear as far as Smith 30 yards out.
He dribbled into the inside-left of the box, beat his man and then fired a superb left-foot shot past Gillespie and into the bottom corner to extend the Shields advantage to three.
It seemed just a matter of time before that was extended again, and Kane almost got on the scoresheet soon after when he latched onto a ball through the centre before poking a shot which Gillespie managed to divert wide.
On 55 minutes, another long throw by Riding caused havoc, and Ramsey headed onto the bar, while Kane later powered a shot over from 25 yards.
Gary Crutwell was introduced in place of Smith just after the hour mark after the Shields midfielder suffered a slight injury.
Kane got in on the act in the 66th minute as he scored arguably the goal of the day.
Rue picked up the ball on the right wing and whipped in a superb delivery which Kane powerfully headed past the goalkeeper for his 24th goal of the season.
Ramsey was withdrawn with an injury soon after on his final appearance of the campaign, with the Shields striker suspended for Friday’s last game of the season, against Stokesley.
His replacement, James Talbot, impressed in his time on the field, when the Mariners had a number of opportunities to grab more goals.
Kane was denied by Gillespie before scoring what looked like a perfectly good goal which was ruled out for offside.
The Shields striker then nodded narrowly wide from a Rue cross, while Chris Locke screwed a shot off target.
Kane again fired over on 84 minutes, and also narrowly failed to net a rebound after Rue had a shot parried by Gillespie.
A final opportunity fell to Talbot after Feasey pulled the ball back to him inside the box, but it hit a divot in the turf and his shot went over.
Shields could so easily have won by more, but were left delighted with their afternoon’s work, and will now complete their season with a game against Stokesley at Peterlee on Friday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Hubery, Turner, Feasey, Burn, Riding, Locke (c), Rue, Maitland, Ramsey (Talbot 66), Smith (Crutwell 61), Kane. Subs not used: Baker, Kempster, Renshaw.
Goals: Feasey (2), Riding (8), Smith (51), Kane (66).
RYTON AND CRAWCROOK ALBION: Gillespie, Kastrati (Upperton 72), Shickle (c), P Robinson, Turnbull, McMeekin, Holland, Backhouse, Moore (Chrostowski 79), Forsyth (Emmerson 62), Hodges. Subs not used: S Gunn, Stoddart.
Sent off: McMeekin (45+1).