By Daniel Prince
Manager Jon King has praised South Shields goalkeeper Andy Hunter after he “single-handedly” kept them in the game against West Allotment Celtic on Tuesday.
Hunter made a string of fine saves in the first half as West Allotment dominated, before 10-man Shields reversed the fortunes with an excellent second half display to draw 2-2.
Among Hunter’s saves were a tremendous double stop and a superb penalty save to keep the score down to 1-0 at half-time, before the Mariners fought back.
Shields boss King has paid tribute to the former Hebburn Town keeper after his incredible display.
He said: “Andy Hunter was absolutely fantastic.
“It was as good a performance as I’ve seen from a goalkeeper.
“He made three or four point-blank saves and almost single-handedly kept us in the game.
“At the end I said to the lads that they had certainly paid Andy back with their second half performance.”
King feels the wind played a part in his side’s first half troubles against promotion-chasing West Allotment, and admitted he “feared the worst” when Barrie Smith was sent off for two bookings just before the break.
He added: “I was a bit upset at half-time but when you look at the game the wind was a real part of it.
“It was proved in the second half because I have never seen us dominated like we were in the first half.
“They were by far the better team and I have never seen that happen to us this season.
“It happened to them in the second half and I think a lot of that was because of the wind.
“I said to the lads at half-time that they wouldn’t have the wind excuse in the second half, and West Allotment hardly got out of their half after the break.
“We couldn’t get out of our own half in the first half and when Barrie got sent off I thought it could turn into a three, four or five-goal loss.
“The lads said at half-time the wind was really affecting the game, and that was proven in the second half.”