Lee Mason inspired a second half comeback from South Shields as they remained four points clear at the top of the Evo-Stik North Division on Tuesday.
Lee Mason inspired a second half comeback from South Shields as they remained on course for the Evo-Stik North Division title last night.
The Mariners found themselves a goal behind away to bottom side Goole at half-time after a poor first half display.
However, Mason struck twice inside the first nine minutes of the second half to turn the game on its head and take his tally to six goals in his last five games.
Substitute Dan Lowther wrapped up the points late on for Shields on his league debut for the club.
It was the second time Goole had caused the Mariners problems this season, having held out at 0-0 in the reverse fixture until the closing stages before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat.
Shields appeared to have the measure of them in the early stages this time around, with Mason played in on goal inside the first two minutes before seeing his shot beaten away by goalkeeper Ben Saynor.
There was also an early sighter of goal for Michael Richardson, whose effort from the edge of the box was kept out by Saynor.
The home side began to get a foothold, though, and their first attempt drew a decent save from Liam Connell as Nathan Curtis’ header looked set to find the corner.
Connell also did well to palm a long-range effort from Daniel Horton behind for a corner, while at the other end, Jon Shaw was denied by Saynor.
The hosts got their noses in front 10 minutes before half-time when Shields failed to clear a corner and John Lock forced the ball over the line.
The Mariners were in need of a strong response after the break, and after an offside Louis Storey hit the post with a volley, they built some momentum.
Mason netted the equaliser in the 50th minute when he met a superb cross from the left by Storey with a bullet header to give Saynor no chance.
Holmes was kept off the scoresheet by Saynor soon after, but he could do little to handle Mason.
He was soon played in on goal by a terrific through ball from Robert Briggs, and he rounded Saynor before coolly slotting home.
Chances were harder to come by in the remainder of the second half, but substitute Aksel Juul whistled a shot not far wide before the points were sealed five minutes before the end.
Michael Richardson got in behind on the inside-right of the box and when his initial cross was blocked back to him, he picked out Lowther to slide home from close range and score his third senior goal in as many appearances for the Mariners.
The win kept Shields ahead of Hyde United and Scarborough Athletic by four and five points respectively, and they have a game in hand on both.
On Thursday, they host Coalville Town in the semi-final of the League Cup at Mariners Park.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Lough, Shaw (c), Morse, Ross (Lowther 81), Storey, Briggs, Mason (Armstrong 87), Richardson, Holmes (Juul 58). Subs not used: Woolston, Nicholson.
Goals: Mason (50, 54), Lowther (85).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Dan Lewis.
Saturday’s Evo-Stik North match between Goole and South Shields has been postponed.
As a result of the severe weather experienced by much of the country over recent days, the league gave clubs special dispensation to make early decisions on whether their fixtures had a chance of going ahead.
With the temperature in Goole still hovering around the freezing mark this morning and snow still lying on the pitch, it was decided that Saturday’s match did not have a realistic chance of beating the conditions.
A rearranged date for the game will be announced in due course.
South Shields made it nine wins out of 10 in EVO-STIK League North – but left it late to beat the league’s bottom side Goole on Tuesday.
The Mariners looked to be heading for a frustrating goalless goal as they struggled to find the breakthrough against a resolute Goole side at Mariners Park.
However, substitutes Gavin Cogdon and Julio Arca struck in the last four minutes for Shields as they made it a remarkable 50 wins from their last 52 games.
The Mariners had enjoyed a stunning 3-2 victory over York City in the Emirates FA Cup three days earlier, and after their huge exertions in that game, joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton made seven changes to their starting line-up.
One of those brought in, Michael Richardson, went agonisingly close to opening the scoring after just eight minutes with an audacious chip from just outside the box. Goalkeeper Ben Saynor somehow clawed it onto the bar, and Jamie Holmes put the rebound wide under pressure.
Richardson had another chance less than a minute later when he was found by a superb Andrew Stephenson pass, but again he was unable to beat Saynor, this time with a low effort.
Saynor was in impressive form, and Matty Pattison was the next Shields player he denied as he palmed his piledriver over the bar.
Craig Baxter – the Mariners’ captain for the night – got in behind after a flowing move just after the half-hour mark, but again Saynor would not be beaten.
The ball finally did find a way past him in the 36th minute as Shields launched a swift counter, and the eventual shot from Pattison somehow came back off the post. The hosts kept the ball alive, but Saynor saved Luke Sullivan’s header.
Shields tried to gather momentum in the early stages of the second half, but Goole stuck to their task and continued to frustrate their hosts.
Pattison hit the post for a second time with a dipping effort from outside the area, with the Richardson follow-up going not far wide.
Half-chances came and went, but the longer the game went on, the more likely it became that Goole would escape with a point.
Pattison was Shields’ biggest threat for much of the encounter, and his latest effort from 20 yards bounced inches wide of Saynor’s post.
As the second half progressed, the Mariners introduced Cogdon, Arca and Robert Briggs from the bench as they searched for a winner.
Cogdon had a number of half-opportunities, but Goole almost opened the scoring when a stunning effort from distance by Piteu Crouz arrowed towards the bottom corner before being brilliantly tipped wide by the hand of Liam Connell.
The breakthrough finally arrived for Shields in the 86th minute. Briggs utilised some space in midfield and sent a glorious ball through for Cogdon, who beat Saynor to it with his searing pace before keeping his cool to finish.
It was another late show for Cogdon, who three days earlier had scored the dramatic stoppage time winner against York.
There was no way back for Goole, who had put in a spirited display and defended well before being undone at the end.
When Macaulay Parkinson handled in the area in stoppage time, he was given his marching orders, and Arca stepped up to roll home the penalty and seal the Mariners’ three points.
They had to be patient, and it was tough going at times, but they got the result they needed.
Shields now prepare for a tough FA Trophy trip to Scarborough Athletic on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter (c), Callaghan, Lough, Morse, Storey (Arca 68), Stephenson (Briggs 78), Pattison, Sullivan (Cogdon 62), Richardson, Holmes. Subs not used: Norton, Smith.
Goals: Cogdon (86), Arca (pen 90+3).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.