MATCH REPORT: Colliers dig in to give clear signal of intent

Northern Football Alliance round-up.
Northern Football Alliance round-up.

Shilbottle CW 3 High Howden SC 1

Northern Football Alliance, Bay Plastics Division Two

Shilbottle CW continued their pursuit of the second division title with a hard-fought victory over High Howdon Social Club at a soggy Welfare Ground on Saturday.

The Colliers opened brightly – Jordan Giles had a header well saved and Brad McClelland headed a good chance wide of the target.

The visitors came more into the game as the half progressed and, after having a deflected effort strike the bar, they took the lead on 35 minutes with a fine strike from Chris Marshall (0-1).

Within five minutes, the Colliers were level. Josh Hay had two efforts blocked by defenders before McClelland followed up to force the ball home to draw the sides level at the interval (1-1).

Shilbottle moved into the lead shortly after the restart when a free-kick from Matty Graham was blocked and his follow-up shot was deflected into his own net by a High Howdon defender (2-1).

The Colliers were now in the driving seat but required a third goal to settle the match.

Ross Gair had a good effort tipped over the bar by Craig Jones in the High Howdon goal. He then made another tremendous save from Hay to keep his side in the game.

However, Colliers’ leading scorer Hay was not to be denied as, 15 minutes from time, he shot home from close range for Shilbottle’s third goal following a good ball from McClelland and the game was over (3-1).

Third-placed Colliers are seven points behind league-leaders Gateshead Leam Rangers, but have four games in hand.

Shilbottle: A Patterson, J Giles, C Graham, R Young, R Stewart, M Graham, K Elliot, R Gair, B Wake, B McClelland, J Hay, B Balmbra, P Grey, L Brooks. Shilbottle’s Robert Porteous man-of-the-match: Brad McClelland. Match sponsor: Stephen Willcox (Builders) Ltd.

Related story: Full league round-up