SSFC Ladies narrowly beaten in season opener

SSFC Ladies narrowly beaten in season opener

South Shields started the NERWFL season with a loss as they were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Sunderland West End on Sunday.

A last minute goal proved the Mariners’ undoing after a spirited fightback had looked set to seal a point for Scott Curtis’ side.

Shields started well as Eve Gatens fired a well-hit free-kick just over the bar from distance.

Gatens then had another great chance as she beat her defender with ease and struck a powerful effort which stung the palms of the goalkeeper.

The Mariners’ strong start continued, with Gatens at the heart of the action. Her wonderfully floated corner found Megan Archbold, whose header went wide.

West End grew into proceedings and went close to scoring when a free-kick was floated into the area and evaded everyone before narrowly drifting wide.

The home side did take the lead shortly afterwards. Another dangerous free-kick, similar to the previous attempt, found the right side of the net.

Shields almost found an immediate response through Isla Maggs. A whipped cross by Gatens found Maggs in the area, but her header flew just wide.

A period of pressure after the interval paid off as Alex Miller brought the Mariners level. Another fine corner from Gatens picked out Miller with a free header, which she powered into the back of the net.

Shortly afterwards, Shields nearly took the lead. A great one-two between Gatens and Sophie White saw an effort on target, but the goalkeeper saved with ease.

However, Sunderland West End edged in front once again. Similar to their first, a floated cross-come-shot found the back of the net.

The Mariners equalised with a few minutes remaining through Maggs. Georgia Telford played a brilliant pass down the touchline for Maggs to chase, and she beat her defender before slotting into the bottom corner.

It ultimately, though, ended in heartbreak for Shields. A quick counter-attack by West End resulted in a well-placed finish into the bottom corner, which saw the hosts win it.

After the game, Shields head coach Scott Curtis said: “We were all disappointed to concede so late after getting level twice.

“There were positives to take, as we created plenty of chances and the movement of the lasses was great. We’re definitely happy with the performance.”