South Shields 4-1 Newton Aycliffe
By Daniel Prince
South Shields turned on the style as they came from behind to beat Newton Aycliffe 4-1 at Mariners Park on Saturday.
Goals from Wayne Buchanan, David Foley, Leepaul Scroggins and Aris Lokonga Guerin secured a fourth straight win for the Mariners, who have now also beaten four Ebac Northern League Division One sides in pre-season.
They defeated Newton Aycliffe without a number of unavailable players, including Stephen Ramsey, Adam Curry, Michael Turner, Warren Byrne, Gilberto Chapim, Ben Riding, Ryan Beal, Lee Scott and Jonny Wightman.
Newton Aycliffe started in threatening form, but the first half-chance fell to Shields, with a snap shot from 25 yards from Lee McMahon forcing a strong save by the visiting goalkeeper.
Shields went close again when a cross from Barrie Smith was headed just past the post by an Aycliffe defender, who later headed wide at the other end.
Both sides were producing decent chances, with Foley in particularly lively form for the Mariners on the left. He showed a touch of class to beat his man just outside the box on the left, before drilling a low shot just wide.
More good play on 16 minutes from Foley saw him carry the ball 20 yards before cutting inside and having an effort deflected wide for a corner.
It was Newton Aycliffe, though, who took the lead as Jordan Laidler scored in the 18th minute. His initial effort was well parried by Gareth Young, but the ball fell back into the path of the visiting striker, who slotted in the rebound.
The away team almost went two up when their No8 got past Smith on the left and then tried an audacious lob which went narrowly wide.
Shields grew from then, and went close when they played the ball across to Smith on the right, and his cross to the back post found Foley, whose shot was deflected out for a corner.
Foley was proving a menace to the Aycliffe defence, and a fantastic curled cross from him on the left was destined for the top corner before being clawed behind by the goalkeeper.
Daryll Hall had an effort cleared off the line from the resulting corner, while a huge opportunity came when Kenny Ball slotted a ball through for Adam Sakr to run onto, but the goalkeeper did well to save his powerful effort with his legs.
It seemed just a matter of time before the Mariners equalised, and Guerin headed wide from a corner before the leveller eventually arrived nine minutes before half-time.
Foley played a short corner to McMahon, who curled in a superb cross to the back post which found Buchanan, whose header bounced as it hit the line and beat the despairing defenders as he grabbed his second goal in as many games.
Two minutes into the second half, Foley claimed a deserved goal as he got on the scoresheet for the first time in a Shields shirt. Ball played the ball to him on the inside-left of the box, and Foley did the rest, bringing it under control before deftly knocking it over the goalkeeper and into the net.
Newton Aycliffe fired an effort just over the bar almost immediately at the other end, while James Talbot and Paul Kane were introduced from the bench for the Mariners, but the latter was forced off on a stretcher with an injury.
He was replaced by club captain Scroggins, who was making his first appearance since the opening pre-season friendly against Darlington on July 11.
It took him just six minutes to get on the scoresheet. Guerin – who had earlier nudged an effort just wide – was played in on goal, and as he was about to shoot, a defender brought him down.
The referee pointed to the spot, and although Guerin tried to claim the penalty, Scroggins took hold of the ball and fired it low into the bottom right corner, via a strong hand from the goalkeeper.
It was raining goals by this stage, and on 76 minutes, Guerin deservedly got in on the act. The ball was slid through to him on the inside-left of the box, and he calmly rolled the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper and across the line.
The Mariners had one serious opportunity to make it five before their work was done, but substitute Joe Melvin had an effort saved, while Guerin’s follow-up was blocked and James Talbot then fired over.
Shields had secured another pre-season win long before then, and will now hope to complete their preparations for the new campaign with a strong showing against Blyth Spartans at Mariners Park on Tuesday. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Smith, Heptinstall (Galpin 46), Hall (c) (Heptinstall 75), Buchanan, Ball (Melvin 75), Sakr (Talbot 54), McMahon, Guerin, Phillips, Foley (Kane 57) (Scroggins 67).
Goals: Buchanan (36), Foley (47), Scroggins (pen 74), Guerin (76).