SOUTH SHIELDS 4
ALNWICK TOWN 1
Alnwick gave a good account of themselves but were ultimately unable to stop South Shields winning their 20th game in a row
Alnwick started well, with new signing Thomas Butler turning his old team-mate Julio Arca to start a break away that came to nothing. Shields started to gain possession but couldn’t break down the Alnwick defence, who played a perfect line often catching the opposition offside.
Luc Glasper snuffed out a couple of Shields attacks in the first 10 minutes, claiming catches well. Shields did almost go one up in the 13thminute however as skipper Daryll Hall headed just over from an Arca corner.
The Mariners only had to wait another five minutes until the deadlock was broken however, as they won a free kick in an attacking position. No one in a black and white shirt picked up Arca on the edge of the box as Robert Briggs found him with a pass to the edge. The Argentine applied the finish albeit deflected giving Glasper little chance of making the save.
Arca tried to double his tally for the afternoon, taking a free kick that suited his left foot more than the right of Briggs, but the former Sunderland man failed to hit the target. Alnwick looked to attack through their own former Sunderland player, with Butler turning Arca even better than the first time before laying the ball to Tony Brown. The skipper played a fantastic ball in the direction of Jonathyn Quinn but it was cut out before the former Magpies youngster could get there. Butler set away another attack, again beating Arca; he combined with Brown again who this time could find Quinn. Quinn hit a powerful shot from the edge of the 18 just over the top.
Alnwick shocked the near 700 strong crown on the stroke of half time however, through the head of James Jackson, flicking on a great whipped corner across the goal and into the top corner of the net to make Shields panic a bit going into half time at 1-1.
South Shields started to show why they are top in the second half, starting the much brighter of the two sides and it didn’t take long for them to go ahead. Arca’s shot from the box rattled the cross bar before Warren Byrne applied a decent finish.
Only three minutes later Byrne was in again (although looking couple of yards offside), however slipped on the swamp of a pitch and putting the ball well wide. The Mariners continued to pin Alnwick back with Glasper being forced into action as he saved well from a Michael Turner shot.
Just before the hour mark a ball in behind Alnwick’s tiring defence by Foley found Smith who smashed the ball high into the net to put the leaders 3-1 up.
The drama continued for Alnwick as substitute Ross Moore got injured only a matter of minutes after coming on due to a late challenge by the South Shields captain, meaning the only remaining man on the bench had to replace him upfront, that man being goalkeeper Callum Brooks.
In the 78th minute a fourth was added by substitute Andy Bulford who tucked the ball home after fellow sub Jonny Wightman played in a low cross after beating Lewis Robson to make it 4-1 to the hosts.
With five minutes to play, Brooks was taken out from behind by Turner, who was already on a yellow. A free-kick was awarded but somehow Turner wasn’t given his marching orders for the shocking challenge. Debutant Quinn took the free-kick which was accurate but lacked power, failing to beat Gareth Young.
In the end a rather flattering 4-1 victory for South Shields after a valiant effort from a depleted Alnwick side giving Town hope of better things to come.