By Daniel Prince
South Shields return to Heaton Stannington tomorrow (Tuesday) as they replay a match that was abandoned in February.
The Mariners were leading the Northern League Division Two fixture 2-0 when Heaton player Lee Johnson went down with a serious back injury.
After an ambulance took over 45 minutes to arrive at the ground, the match was abandoned.
Heaton Stannington have enjoyed a fine campaign, and sit fifth in the table.
They beat Shields 2-0 at Peterlee in September, but the Mariners showed in February they have enough about them to cause them problems.
Shields have six games left to play, and have endured a difficult run recently, with three straight defeats.
However, an improved performance against league champions North Shields on Saturday gave them a merited 1-0 lead at half-time.
In fact, they perhaps should have been further ahead before their cross-river rivals improved in the second half and ran out 3-1 winners.
The Mariners are 16th in the table, and their hopes of finishing in the top half now appear all but over.
However, they are eager to finish the season on a high, and a win at Heaton Stannington would set them up well for Thursday’s trip to Whickham.
After the Whickham game, Shields will have just four games left, all of which will take place at Peterlee.
Heaton Stannington. HOME.
P18. W11. D3. L4. F34. A23. Total GD 21. Pts 72. League table position: 5th.
Form. Last six games 13 points, form table placing 4th.
South Shields. AWAY.
P19. W4. D7. L8. G28. A44. Total GD -23. Pts 41. League table position: 16th.
Form. Last six games three points, form table placing 19th.
South Shields are next in action on Thursday, when they travel to Whickham.
By Daniel Prince
Today’s game at Heaton Stannington was abandoned after just short of an hour after a serious injury to one of the home side’s players.
South Shields had turned in a terrific performance against the promotion-chasers and deservedly led 2-0 after a goal from Colin White and an own goal by Kevin Carr.
However, Heaton Stannington’s Lee Johnson was then involved in a collision on 58 minutes and screamed out in agony after hurting his back.
The player was prone on the ground for some time before the referee brought the players off the pitch, and an ambulance was called for.
Just short of 5pm, the match was abandoned, and the ambulance had still not arrived at the ground.
It finally arrived some 48 minutes after the incident.
That means Shields have still not completed a game in the league since December 28.
Things could not have gone much better for them until the abandonment against promotion-chasing Heaton.
The Mariners – with the wind at their backs – started on the front foot, and proved menacing from set-piece situations.
They were rewarded in the eighth minute when Chris Feasey’s corner from the left bounced down off the crossbar into the path of White, who bundled it past the defender on the line.
Ben Telford then scuffed his effort straight at Jak Wells at the other end, before Shields doubled their advantage.
On 16 minutes, a Feasey free-kick from deep evaded everyone and eventually went in off Heaton’s Carr.
The home side claimed the ball had been cleared off the line by despairing defenders, but the linesman’s flag immediately went up to signal the ball had crossed the line.
Dean Deagle’s free-kick for Heaton Stannington was as close as they came, with Wells doing well to palm over his powerful effort.
Shields thought they had gone three up before half-time after another free-kick was bundled home by Luke Richardson, but it was ruled out for offside.
They almost saw their lead halved just before the break after tying themselves in knots at the back, but Carr dragged his effort wide as he looked to make up for his own goal.
Heaton put on some pressure at the start of the second half, with White bravely blocking an effort from Paul Blakey before Phil Smith fired well over.
The last action of the match before the sickening injury saw Adam Burnicle go clean through on goal for Shields before going down, with the referee ruling it was not a penalty.
The abandonment now means the Mariners have nine fixtures that will need to be played in midweek before the end of the season.
Their next game is against Willington at Peterlee on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Wells, Hall, Riding, Fraser, White, Locke, Burnicle, Cutts, Ramsey (c), Richardson, Feasey. Subs not used: Lynch, Logan, Greenwell, Fenwick, Clark.
Goals: White (8), Carr own goal (16).
By Bob Wray
The Mariners travel to pastures new on Saturday for a first visit it is believed ever in a competitive game against Heaton Stannington, who are enjoying a successful first season in the Northern League.
The club is currently in sixth position in the league table, and with several games in hand over two of the teams above them, are in a challenging position for promotion against two of the teams some few points ahead, who are lying below the promotion favourites at this stage of North Shields.
So they have everything to play for, with every game vital for the points to make up a little ground and to get into the top three.
Having beaten South Shields earlier this season at Peterlee, they will provide a stern test for their visitors, who are bereft of league football action since December 28, and with a backlog now of eight games to be rearranged due to weather postponements.
Shields have numerous new signings of late and hopefully will be able to select from a complete and available squad.
For the Mariners, as mentioned in earlier notes, two or three wins will be sufficient for total safety, so there are incentives for both teams to provide the fans with a competitive and hopefully entertaining game.
As ever, the weather will be watched most closely for any unwelcome change, but hopefully the drier milder spell will continue as forecast, fingers crossed …..
Heaton Stannington. HOME
P13. W9. D2. L2. F29. A16. Total GD17. Pts. 52. League Table 6th.
Form. Last six games 10 points, form table 11th.
South Shields. AWAY.
P12. W3. D6. L3. F20. A22. Total GD -5. Pts. 32. League Table 14th.
Form. Last six games seven points, form table 14th.
Ground directions to Grounsell Park, at High Heaton, and which is located on Newton Road, behind a terrace of shops, look on the right side for the ground entrance between two such properties. The ground is a short distance from the Freeman Hospital. Take the coast road A1058 left for Newcastle, and eventually turn right at traffic lights onto Newton Road. For satnavers postcode NE7 7HP, Tel. no. 0191 281 9230. Bus no. 38 from Northumberland Street is direct, with a stop convenient just past Blackett Street corner.
The next scheduled game for South Shields is at home to Willington, on Saturday March 1.