South Shields 5-0 Tow Law Town
By Daniel Prince
South Shields turned on the style for the second time in four days as they romped to a 5-0 win over Tow Law Town at Peterlee on Tuesday.
The Mariners, who are playing with such confidence, flair and commitment at present, enjoyed another fine night.
It came hot on the heels of Saturday’s 6-0 win over Thornaby, and means they have now won their last two games at an aggregate score of 11-0.
In four games at Peterlee so far this season, Shields have scored 18 goals (the most of any team in Ebac Northern League Division Two), and five different players were on the scoresheet against Tow Law – with two spectacular strikes in particular lighting up the game.
Stephen Ramsey prodded a Chris Feasey free-kick over the bar three minutes in, and Paul Kane sent a shot into the side netting moments later. Some supporters thought the ball had gone in after James Talbot’s low cross found Kane, but it had in fact gone just wide and into the side netting.
David Molloy could have put the home side 1-0 up on 12 minutes, but after he outmuscled the defender on the right, his lob did not have enough on it to beat the goalkeeper.
From then, Tow Law started to enjoy the better of proceedings, and Shields were thankful to goalkeeper Aidan Grant when he produced an excellent save to palm Simon Ord’s long-range effort over the bar.
Grant later had to keep out two free-kicks from Luke Parkinson, with the second of those proving particularly difficult after it took a deflection.
He pulled off an even more impressive save on 26 minutes. A superb half-volley across goal by Ord was destined for the top corner, but Grant’s fingertip stop ensured Shields remained level.
Molloy picked up the ball around 10 yards outside the box and played the perfect through ball to Kane, who slotted the ball under visiting goalkeeper Gary Anderson with a great finish.
It was the forward’s third goal in two games since rejoining the club from Washington.
Shields grew after that goal, and did not look back.
On 34 minutes, captain Barrie Smith scored a goal worthy of winning any game after a corner was half-cleared.
After first missing his shot completely, the ball bounced kindly for Smith on the edge of the box. He then unleashed a stunning left-foot effort which flew into the top of the net – the only place the despairing goalkeeper and defenders on the line could not reach. It was Smith’s fourth goal of the season and first from open-play – he had only scored four goals in claret and blue prior to this campaign.
Grant remained on his toes at the other end, keeping out a long-range effort from Shaun Ryder, but Shields smelt blood, and it appeared they wanted to all but finish the game off by half-time.
First, a Molloy cross from the right went all the way to Kane at the back post, but he saw his effort blocked by Michael Robson.
Smith also prodded a shot over the bar from inside the box, before Shields got the goal to all but seal the win three minutes before half-time.
Molloy latched onto a ball over the top on the right before again using his strength to get the better of the defender. The forward then turned and sent a low left-footed effort into the bottom corner as he notched his sixth goal of the season.
There was still enough time before the break for an incredible miss at the other end, with Vincent Gash somehow volleying wide from two yards out.
It had been an excellent end to the half from Shields, though, and they picked up where they left off after the break.
Kane skied an effort within a minute of the restart, before Andy Renton scored a fine goal to make it 4-0 on 49 minutes.
He rolled the ball into Ramsey onto the edge of the box, before the striker flicked it over the defender’s head. Renton had continued his run, and timed it perfectly to volley the ball home for his first goal in a Shields shirt.
Feasey went agonisingly close to adding to the scoring soon after when he curled a 25-yard free-kick just wide, before Tow Law started to come back into the game slightly.
A cross from Gash on the right was just missed by Anthony Lee in the centre, while Lee later skewed a shot wide after wriggling through the Mariners defence.
Molloy saw a goal ruled out at the other end after a late offside call, while Kane could have made it five on 63 minutes, but his shot went over after a fine turn in the box.
A cross from Abu Salim on the right caused problems for visiting goalkeeper Anderson, who palmed it over, and from the resulting corner, Ramsey’s flicked header deserved a goal. However, it was somehow hooked off the line, and the striker did not record the goal his performance deserved.
Molloy was denied on 76 minutes after some fine individual play, while Robson sent a shot wide at the other end on the stretch.
On 82 minutes, Shields midfielder David Conroy was introduced for his first appearance of the season after recovering from an ankle injury, and he slotted into an unfamiliar left-back role.
Kane had another good chance six minutes before the end, but was caught in two minds as to whether to shoot or pass to Ramsey, and the chance evaporated.
Shields had two decent penalty appeals turned down in the second half, but the goal of the game – and perhaps the season – was still to come.
Talbot picked the ball up about 35 yards from goal on the right, with plenty of space ahead of him. He let fly, and his blockbuster of a shot flew towards goal like a bullet. The ball smashed off the underside of the bar and into the net to add the cherry on top of the cake for Shields. It led to a prolonged period of applause from the fans at Peterlee, who had witnessed a goal to rival any scored by the Mariners in recent years.
There was to be no more scoring, but there were no complaints from Shields, who safely tucked away another three points and had notched up another impressively comfortable victory to move up to seventh in the table.
On Saturday, they take a break from Ebac Northern League Division Two action when they take on Willington at Peterlee in the FA Vase. Kick-off is at 3pm.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Grant, Talbot, Feasey (Conroy 82), White, Locke, Graham (Stephenson 76), Renton (Salim 68), Smith (c), Ramsey, Molloy, Kane.
Goals: Kane (31), Smith (34), Molloy (42), Renton (49), Talbot (88).
TOW LOW TOWN: Anderson, Ryder, Hall, Brassell, Robson, Killeen, Wilson, Ord (c), Gash, Lee, Parkinson.