South Shields 4-3 Tow Law Town
A four-minute triple salvo helped South Shields to a much-needed and entertaining 4-3 win over Tow Law Town on Saturday.
With the game level at 1-1 and both teams reduced to 10 men, it looked even before goals from Adam Burnicle, Luke Olabode and Luke Richardson turned the game in Shields’ favour.
Tow Law did fight back at Eden Lane with two more goals of their own, but despite a nervy ending, the Mariners got the three points they needed to consolidate their position in Division Two of the Northern League.
They went into the game on the back of three straight draws in the league, but made the perfect start when Richardson gave them the lead two minutes in.
A long throw from Ben Riding caused havoc in the opposition box, and Richardson was on hand to fire home in the aftermath.
However, the visitors always looked dangerous, and a little over 20 minutes later Jason Brazauskas brought them level when his deflected shot left goalkeeper Jak Wells with no chance.
The sides went in at the break level, although Shields had two excellent chances to take the lead, with Stephen Ramsey nodding a free-kick wide and Tow Law keeper Stephen Robinson superbly tipping over a Jordan Fraser header.
However, after the interval, the game really started to heat up.
A sending off for each side is what sparked it into life, with Mariners defender Fraser and Tow Law player Dean Thexton seeing red after an off the ball incident early in the second half.
It was Shields who coped better with going down to 10 men, although the away side should have gone 2-1 up.
Tow Law sliced open the hosts’ defence, but Thomas Watkinson’s tame effort when one-on-one with Wells was easily saved by the Mariners keeper.
Shields then took control, with Olabode stabbing one over before Burnicle did put them into the lead with a fine shot across goal following an excellent pass from Barrie Smith on 59 minutes.
Just two minutes later, it was 3-1, with Olabode’s terrific header into the ground leaving Robinson with no chance.
Shields were now well on top and making their momentum count, and on 63 minutes made it 4-1 when Richardson fired in his second of the game.
At that stage, the points seemed secure for Shields, but Tow Law were determined to make them work for it.
Substitute Jonathan Kemp got them back into it 17 minutes before the end with a header, and that is when nerves began to set in for the home team.
When another sub, Robert Hurton, pulled it back to 4-3 nine minutes from time, those nerves became all the more evident.
As has so often been the case this season, Shields suddenly found themselves under severe pressure, but they saw the game out to seal a valuable three points and consolidate their 15th place.