Two set piece goals seals Shields victory
By Paul Armstrong
This was an improved performance from a much-changed Reds team who acquitted themselves well against title-chasing Shields.
They matched them toe-to-toe for over an hour in a game that saw very few chances created from open play.
Lee Andrews had to go into the game without the injured trio of Gari Rowntree, Josh Calvert and Sam Joel with Brad Carroll (‘flu) also unavailable.
From early in the game it looked as though the set piece route would be the most likely source of goals and so it proved.
The Mariners secured the points and their twenty-fifth win of the season with goals via the penalty spot and a free kick.
But Reds competed throughout albeit without making inroads on Shields’ watertight defence.
After Dav Symington had gone close to giving the hosts an unlikely lead from a well-struck free-kick, the north-east side, backed by a healthy contingent of their supporters, got the breakthrough at the other end.
A diagonal ball was delivered into the area and Dan Wordsworth impeded Jon Shaw as both challenged for the ball.
It’s the sort of challenge that happens every time there is a free-kick or a corner but, like a speeding offence, you know the consequences if you get caught.
The referee pointed to the spot and Robert Briggs, the only Shields player to make the NPL ‘team of the year’, confidently placed the ball into the net.
And that looked as though it would decide a closely fought game until the visitors doubled their lead ten minutes before the end.
Luke Daly was fouled just outside the area and Nathan Lowe scored with the subsequent free-kick despite Aarran Taylor’s best efforts to keep the ball out.
Reds’ only shot on target, soon after the restart, saw Dan Carmichael’s snap-shot from the edge of the box gathered by Liam Connell at the second attempt.
Plenty of spirit and half decent performances on the night but, ultimately, Reds fell short with the chronic shortage of goals and the lack of clean sheets an all too familiar trait.
Andrews was pleased with the team’s commitment but said, “It was an even contest until we helped them on their way with two soft goals.”
Workington Taylor, Symington, Smith (Harker, 81), Wordsworth, Douglas, Cowperthwaite, Allison, Holt, Walker, Carmichael (Maguire, 80), Tinnion. Substitutes – Thompson, Brotherston, Casson (not used).
South Shields Connell, Baxter, Adams, Shaw, Morse, Turnbull, Daly, Lowe, Harmison (Mason, 73), Briggs (Lough, 46), Bell (Cogdon, 85). Substitutes – Mouanda, Foley (not used).
Referee Craig Dean, Durham
Bookings: Harker (Workington), Baxter (South Shields)