By Daniel Prince. Match sponsored by: Calor Gas
David Molloy grabbed the only goal of the game as South Shields progressed in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup with a victory over Tow Law Town on Tuesday.
Molloy struck on the hour to put the Mariners into the third round of the competition, although Shields goalkeeper Niki Lawson had to make a penalty save at the other end to ensure extra-time was avoided.
Christopher Rue came in to make his second debut for Shields after joining the club earlier in the day, and his experience helped Jon King’s side keep a clean sheet at Peterlee.
They had to be patient to get their goal, though, as a number of chances came and went before Molloy finally scored.
The first of those came just three minutes into the game, when Molloy had a powerful shot blocked before captain Chris Locke’s long range effort was held by visiting goalkeeper Stephen Kennedy.
Paul Kane perhaps should have put Shields ahead on 14 minutes when he was played in on the right by James Talbot, but his effort hit the outside of the post as Tow Law survived.
Steven Graham sent a low drive wide, while Graham Stephenson volleyed over as the hosts continued to pressurise their opponents.
Kane was next to go close, but his well-hit and low free-kick was well held by Kennedy, and the Shields striker had another chance soon after, but fired over from the edge of the box.
Kennedy did well to keep out another effort from Kane on 34 minutes when the Mariners’ top scorer cut in from the left before smashing goalwards, and after that Tow Law began to express themselves some more.
Scott Duggan played in Lewis Harrison on the right, but he sliced wide, while Duggan had a glorious chance soon after, but somehow sent his shot wide from in front of goal.
They were rare opportunities for Tow Law in a first half Shields dominated, and King’s men had three more golden chances before half-time.
A counter-attack eventually led to a Molloy shot which went wide, while Craig Roberts had a great dribble from the halfway line before perhaps shooting too early, with his effort easily saved by Kennedy.
A scuffed shot from Kane on the stroke of half-time broke for Roberts in the box, and he hit it just wide of the post as the sides went in level at the break.
Tow Law came out strongly in the second half, and Alistair Wilson almost gave them the lead on 47 minutes, but his shot went just over.
At the other end, Dan Hall found Kane, but he could not get clean contact on it, while Stephenson also had a glorious chance to put Shields ahead when he fired wide from Talbot’s cross.
Harrison curled a shot wide for the visitors before the Mariners finally got their breakthrough on 60 minutes.
A tremendous through ball by Hall split the Tow Law defence and met the run of Molloy, who touched it round the advancing Kennedy before calmly slotting home.
Gareth Ayers had a decent opportunity for the visitors soon after, but chipped a shot over, while the same player was again played in later, but sent his effort across goal wide.
Kane had a long-range shot which cleared the bar, before Tow Law had a huge opportunity to draw level when Lawson was penalised for a foul in the box with 16 minutes left.
However, Lawson went from zero to hero in a matter of moments as he picked himself up to keep out Scott Brassell’s central penalty with his legs.
Shields could have wrapped the game up on 81 minutes when Kane played in Molloy, but Kennedy did brilliantly to keep out the powerful shot with his body.
The resulting corner was cleared as far as Talbot, whose drive whistled past the post.
Kane had another shot well saved, but Tow Law did have two more golden opportunities to force extra-time as the clock ticked past 90.
Joe Grant rounded Lawson and his shot was destined for the net before Aron Burn cleared it off the line.
Moments later, Grant again had a glorious chance, but his lob went just past the post as Shields breathed a sigh of relief.
Kane was denied with another effort before the final whistle, but Shields had done enough to seal their victory as they marched into the next round – keeping a welcome clean sheet in the process.
They will hope to follow up the win on Saturday when they take on Ryton and Crawcrook Albion in Ebac Northern League Division Two at Peterlee. Kick-off is at 3pm.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Lawson, Rue, Stephenson (Reeves 55), Locke (c), Burn, Graham, Talbot, Hall, Kane, Molloy, Roberts. Subs not used: Bell, Hubery.
Goal: Molloy (60).
TOW LAW TOWN: Kennedy, Ryder, Wilson, Henderson (c), Greenwell, Brassell, Harrison, Grant, Ord, Duggan, Ayers. Sub (from): Anderson.
By Daniel Prince
Northallerton Town ran riot at Peterlee as South Shields suffered a heavy loss in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.
Ben Riding’s brace was not enough for the Mariners, who had to do without a number of unavailable first-team performers.
Shields would have been looking to make good progress in the Northern League Division Two’s cup competition, but with captain Barrie Smith and striker Adam Burnicle among the absentees, got off to the worst possible start.
After Kyle Houshby had forced Northallerton’s debutant goalkeeper Jordan Aspinall into a good save, the visitors opened the scoring on eight minutes.
A corner led to a header which Shields goalkeeper Jak Wells did well to parry, but Dale Elgie was on hand to give Northallerton the lead.
Both sides had some good chances in the minutes that followed, with Jordan Fraser and Luke Olabode both producing efforts from Houshby set-pieces and Daniel McLachlan curling a shot wide at the other end.
A Shields through ball almost found Richard Logan on 14 minutes, but Aspinall was out well to smother.
The Mariners did get their deserved equaliser on 18 minutes, and it came from a familiar source.
Colin White’s long throw was directed straight onto the head of Riding, who nodded in.
However, Shields switched off following the goal and were immediately punished.
After Wells had made another terrific save with his feet, Colin Anderson struck the rebound into the empty net.
This time, though, there was no quick response from Shields, and Northallerton quickly extended their lead.
In the 23rd minute, a corner from the left was powerfully headed goalwards by Grant Hickman, and his effort appeared to strike the bar before hitting the unlucky Wells and bouncing into the net.
The Mariners almost got back into it eight minutes before half-time, with another long throw eventually finding Jordan Fraser, whose header smashed off the crossbar.
Wells produced another good save to deny McLachlan at the other end, but Northallerton went in at half-time 3-1 ahead and looking good to progress to the third round.
The visitors almost made it 4-1 seven minutes after the break when a terrific McLachlan flicked effort with the outside of his foot came off the inside of the post and somehow stayed out.
Shields boss Jon King opted to change things up by introducing Chris Locke and Chris Feasey, and on 62 minutes, they were back in the game.
Houshby’s corner was headed in by Riding, and suddenly the Mariners looked in with a real chance of forcing extra-time.
Feasey did well to create a chance for himself on 70 minutes, but his resulting shot was straight at Aspinall.
From then, Northallerton took control, scoring three times in the last nine minutes.
First, substitute Daniel Baxter fired in after yet another save from Wells, before he scored his second four minutes from the end after controlling a ball over the top, playing it round Wells and tapping it in.
A long range effort from White was well saved at the other end, but the result was no longer in doubt, with Richard Playforth completing the scoring with a left foot effort which went across Wells and into the bottom corner.
It was an undoubtedly desperate night for Shields in the closing stages, and they will look to bounce back when they return to league action on Saturday.
Whickham are the visitors to Peterlee’s Eden Lane for a 3pm kick-off.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Wells, Houshby (Crutwell 83), Turnbull, White, Fraser (Locke 58), Olabode, Richardson, Riding, Foster (Feasey 58) , Logan, Ramsey (c). Subs not used: McLean.
Goals: Riding (18, 62).
NORTHALLERTON TOWN: Aspinall, Porritt, Holliday, Hickman, Hemingway, Kokes (Baxter 79), Anderson, Elgie, Playforth, McLachlan, Stevens (Caygill 70). Subs not used: Colman, Kell.
Goals: Elgie (8), Anderson (19), Hickman (23), Baxter (81, 86), Playforth (90+1).
By Bob Wray
South Shields welcome Northallerton Town to the Eden Lane Stadium on Tuesday night for an Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup second round tie, after receiving a bye in the initial round.
On the face of it, this competition could be the Mariners’ best chance of silverware this season in what is the Second Division cup, so hopefully a good performance and display will be forthcoming in the 7.30pm kick-off.
An assessment of the abilities of all teams in the division can perhaps now be made, and it can be said that the current Mariners team can match all comers in terms of competitiveness.
This opinion is based on the quality and ability of all teams played against to date.
Therefore, there are reasonable grounds for a degree of satisfaction, but with a long way yet to go and much could yet also happen.
So for now hopefully there will be a positive a result on Tuesday to provide an opportunity for progress in this competition.
Supporters, having seen a most spirited display on Saturday at North Shields in a late 4-3 defeat, will be hoping that the same character, determination and commitment will be again much in evidence, and as equally importantly the attitude to see the job through.
So once again an entertaining game will be hopefully our pleasure and enjoyment and in preparation for the next fixture on Saturday.
The last encounter between the two sides opened the season at home on August 8, and resulted in a 2-2 draw.
NORTHALLERTON TOWN. AWAY.
P9. W3. D2. L4. F17. A16. Total GD19. Pts. 38. League position 5th.
FORM. Last six games 10 points, form table placing 7th.
SOUTH SHIELDS. HOME.
P9. W4. D2. L3. F16. A19. Total GD -4. Pts 25. League position 13th.
FORM. Last six games nine points, form table placing 10th.
South Shields’ next game is on Saturday at home against Whickham.