South Shields were held to a goalless draw by Morpeth Town in a feisty derby at 1st Cloud Arena on Tuesday.
Jason Gilchrist struck the bar in the first half as Shields produced another largely positive performance in the Pitching In Northern Premier League but were again unable to find the net.
The match featured a remarkable 14 yellow cards including nine for the away side as the rivalry between the two teams lost none of its edge, despite restrictions limiting the crowd to a size of 300.
The statistics show that Shields registered one effort on target over the 90 minutes, although that does not reflect how close they came to scoring on a number of occasions.
The first of those was in the 10th minute as Robert Briggs dinked a ball into the box which was headed across the box by Blair Adams to Alex Kempster, whose effort from close range was brilliantly blocked by Morpeth captain Jeff Henderson to deny a certain goal.
The resulting corner was played short and Briggs then curled in a superb delivery which Dillon Morse headed wide from another presentable position.
The Mariners went closer still as they continued their fast start, with Callum Ross’ terrific cross powerfully headed goalwards by Gilchrist, only for Morpeth goalkeeper Dan Lawson to tip the ball onto the bar. Gilchrist got to the loose ball first and this time was kept off the scoresheet by another Henderson block which had a hint of handball about it.
It was Kempster’s turn to threaten the Highwaymen’s goal on 20 minutes after a fine Shields move, with the forward skipping away from two defenders before driving just over from the inside-right of the area.
Gilchrist volleyed wide and Phil Turnbull fired over as the Mariners’ dominance continued, before Myles Boney was called on to make two important saves before the break to prevent Morpeth taking the lead, with Michael Turner and Jack Foalle both denied.
Opportunities were harder to come by in the second half although one did fall the way of the visitors six minutes after the restart, with Shields substitute Craig Baxter saving what appeared to be a likely goal as he timed a tackle on Foalle brilliantly.
The Mariners’ best chance fell to another substitute, Darius Osei, after he linked up well with strike partner Gilchrist before powering through towards goal and firing over.
Briggs and Gilchrist were both denied by blocks late on and Briggs saw a penalty appeal waved away, but much of the second half was taken up by stoppages and the regular appearance of the referee’s yellow card.
Shields are back in action on Saturday when they take on FC Halifax Town at 1st Cloud Arena in the final qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Ross, Morse, Jones (Baxter 32), Turnbull, Briggs (c), Gilchrist, Verstraaten (Gillies 75), Kempster (Osei 59). Subs not used: Agnew, McCamley.
Image: Kev Wilson.
South Shields take on North East neighbours Morpeth Town on Tuesday in an eagerly awaited Pitching In Northern Premier League match at 1st Cloud Arena.
A maximum crowd of 300 will be in attendance, made up of South Shields season ticket holders in bubble one (mainly those with surnames beginning with letters between A and L), and a limited number of travelling supporters.
A live stream of the match is available to sign up for and view by clicking here. If you have previously registered with a stream through insight4, or have received login information from them via email, please use those login details again. If you cannot remember your password, click ‘forgot password’ and new credentials will be emailed to you.
The match will kick-off at 7.45pm and the pre-match coverage – which features an interview with Shields joint manager Lee Picton – will get underway at 7.15pm.
The Mariners go into the match looking to return to winning ways after a 1-0 loss at home to Matlock Town on Saturday.
They hope to welcome Blair Adams back into the squad for the game, although captain Jon Shaw is set to miss out with a calf injury and Nathan Lowe also remains sidelined with a knee injury which is expected to keep him out for in the region of five weeks.
Morpeth are managed by Stephen Turnbull – the twin brother of Shields midfielder Phil – and have former Mariners players including Carl Finnigan, Wayne Phillips and Michael Turner among their ranks.
An interview with Finnigan appears in Tuesday’s match programme as he looks ahead to his first return to 1st Cloud Arena in the league.
The programme is packed with other content, too, including a Q and A with Phil Turnbull, an A to Z feature with Blair Adams and all of the usual columns and features.
South Shields were eliminated from the Integro Cup after a second half comeback from Morpeth Town at Mariners Park.
The Mariners came from behind to lead 2-1 at half-time with goals from Lee Mason and Sefton Gonzales.
But Morpeth turned the game around again to go 3-2 ahead and Shields had a mountain to climb when, after having used all three substitutes, midfielder Arron Thompson was forced off with a head injury.
The Highwaymen struck twice more in the closing stages as they booked their place in the fourth round.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Whitley, Hunter (Baxter 46), Charlton, Turnbull (c), Verstraaten, Brown, Gillies (Briggs 70), Thompson, Gonzales (Gilchrist 70), Lowe, Mason. Sub not used: Ross.
Goals: Mason (20), Gonzales (29).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.