South Shields returned to winning ways as they hit Grantham Town for four at a baking hot 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday.
First half goals from Conor Tee and Dillon Morse set the Mariners on their way as they earned a fourth victory in five games in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
Grantham made life difficult in the second half after pulling a goal back from a set-piece, but they were unable to draw back on level terms before Shields turned on the style in the closing stages.
An excellent strike from Ntumba Massanka was followed by a header by substitute Sam Hodgson as the hosts secured a 4-1 victory in front of a delighted crowd of more than 1,700.
The Mariners had dropped their first points of the season in a 1-1 draw with FC United of Manchester four days earlier, but this was a reassuring result for Graham Fenton’s side.
Fenton opted to make two changes to his starting line-up, with Will Jenkins and Darius Osei introduced in place of Nathan Lowe and Alex Kempster.
Shields could not have asked for a better start as they opened the scoring in the third minute.
Some slick play down the right resulted in Darius Osei slipping a ball through to Tee, who followed up his opening goal for the club in midweek by sweeping an effort into the opposite corner with a stylish finish.
Numerous half-chances were created by the hosts, but Jim Pollard was in impressive form in the Grantham goal.
A superb Shields move almost resulted in a second goal on the quarter-hour mark, with Jenkins and Massanka both producing fine pieces of skill to set up an opportunity for Tee, but his low shot from just inside the area was pushed wide by Pollard.
Tee saw another strike saved by Pollard soon after, but the Mariners did not have to wait too much longer for their second goal.
It arrived on 22 minutes as they again carved their visitors open, this time down the left. Callum Ross and Osei combined before the latter’s low pass across goal was powered in by Morse from close range.
Massanka was the next to go for goal as a rampant Shields attacked at will, but Pollard held onto his effort.
Pollard was beaten less than a minute later though by an Osei attempt from the right of the area which kissed the post. The ball bounced out to Blair Adams who looked certain to convert his fourth goal of the season, only for Pollard to pick himself up and brilliantly claw his goalbound strike over the bar.
The Grantham goalkeeper remained busy and was forced into another stop by Osei on the stroke of half-time, with the away side going in at the break knowing they had plenty to do to turn the tide in the second half.
They did pose a significantly greater threat after the break, though, and they pulled a goal back when Adam Chapman’s free-kick from the left struck James Williamson before looping over Myles Boney and into the net.
Opportunities were much harder to come by for the Mariners in the second half, and the closest they came in the early stages of it was a sweet strike from distance by Jenkins which cleared the crossbar.
There was a sense that frustration was beginning to set in but any feelings of doubt for Shields were brushed aside in stunning fashion by Massanka 16 minutes from the end.
A cross from the left was half-cleared and dropped to Massanka just inside the area before the striker took aim with a thumping half-volley which arrowed into the top corner, leaving Pollard with no chance.
Substitute Hodgson effectively made the points safe four minutes later with his first competitive goal for the club as he guided Robert Briggs’ cross from the right into the bottom corner with a terrific header.
There was no way back from there for the Gingerbreads, with Shields seeing out the remainder of the second half in comfortable fashion.
The Mariners are back in action on Monday when they travel to Scarborough Athletic for another league fixture.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (Kempster 77), Ross, Morse, Bodenham, Jenkins (Lowe 61), Briggs (c), Massanka, Tee, Osei (Hodgson 66). Subs not used: McGowan, Rossiter.
Goals: Tee (3), Morse (22), Massanka (74), Hodgson (78).
Image: Craig McNair.
South Shields will look to return to winning ways in the Pitching In Northern Premier League when they take on Grantham Town at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
The Mariners were held to a 1-1 draw by FC United of Manchester on Tuesday as they failed to win for the first time this season.
The result saw Shields replaced by Buxton at the top of the early table, with their second half performance a source of real frustration for manager Graham Fenton.
He expects improvements from his team in Saturday’s match as they look to return to winning ways.
Fenton said: “Tuesday was a tough test for us against FC United and we feel we learned lots from the game.
“We created by far the better chances in the first half but unfortunately only managed to take one of them, and then they came back with a very strong second half performance to peg us back.
“On the whole, we felt it was a decent point in the end against a good side.
“The games when you are really tested are the ones you learn the most from and it will hold us in good stead for other challenges that come our way during the season.
“We’re looking to make improvements from Tuesday’s display against Grantham because we need to bounce back from it straightaway.”
Grantham have had a difficult start to the campaign and have lost their last three games under the management of former England player Carlton Palmer.
Fenton insists the Gingerbreads cannot be taken lightly, though.
He added: “We definitely aren’t going into this one with any complacency based on league positions.
“We’ve done our due diligence and have information on Grantham, and the lads have been prepped and given a gameplan to stick to.
“Now it’s up to them to execute that and turn it around straightaway.
“It’s another opportunity to perform at our best, entertain the crowd and hopefully come out with another three points.”
Shields remain without Jon Shaw (groin) and Joao Gomes (knee) heading into Saturday’s 3pm kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena.
Tickets are available to buy in advance by clicking here, and cash turnstiles will also be operating. Admission prices are £10 for adults, £8 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £3 for under-16s. The turnstiles will open at 12.30pm.
After the game, there will be entertainment in the marquee in the form of karaoke, and those who are not fans of karaoke will be able to watch the Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea in the clubhouse.
Match tickets and hospitality packages are now on sale for the upcoming Pitching In Northern Premier League games against FC United of Manchester and Grantham Town at 1st Cloud Arena.
The Mariners will take on FC United on Tuesday, August 24th before welcoming Grantham four days later.
Tickets for both matches are available at prices of £10 for adults, £8 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £3 for under-16s. Supporters will not be segregated at either fixture.
Hospitality – which includes your match ticket, a two-course meal, a complimentary drink, a match programme, access to an exclusive pre-match question and answer session, the opportunity to take advantage of exclusive drinks packages and more – is priced at £30.
You can purchase tickets or hospitality packages online here:
- South Shields FC vs FC United of Manchester – match tickets and hospitality
- South Shields FC vs Grantham Town – match tickets and hospitality
If you have any queries regarding hospitality, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The club intends to allow supporters to pay at the turnstiles at both games, but is unable to guarantee that at this stage as it will be dependent on the number of tickets sold.
The match against FC United, which will kick-off at 7.45pm, is sure to provoke memories of the classic meeting between the sides in March 2020. South Shields won 5-3 in front of a crowd of 3,276 and it proved to be the final game before the first coronavirus lockdown forced the 2019-20 season to a premature close. The Mariners also defeated FC United 1-0 at 1st Cloud Arena last season.
The game against Grantham will begin a Bank Holiday weekend and is due to kick-off at 3pm.
The hospitality menus for both matches are available to view below.