South Shields win 6-5 on penalties
A Sefton Gonzales equaliser for South Shields, deep into stoppage time, forced the game to penalties on a cold and windy night at The UTS Stadium.
The home side had created the majority of chances in the first half; Jack Elliott narrowly hitting a shot over on 3 minutes, Michael Pearson glanced a header from a Liam Thear cross wide on 10 minutes, Liam Thear fired a shot off the upright and Mark Fitzpatrick rattled the crossbar with an audacious over head kick.
Dunston coped well with the threats of South Shields attack for the vast majority of the game, with Craig Scott and Michael Hall forming a solid defensive partnership to subdue the threats of South Shields.
The home side eventually took the lead through Mark Fitzpatrick on 56 minutes, with Shields struggling to clear their lines, substitute Callum Elliott reacted as Boney struggled to keep a grip on a loose ball, Fitzy was on hand to slot the ball into the bottom corner to put the home side into a deserved lead.
Defensively Dunston had restricted the Mariners attempts to get in behind the back line on numerous occasions. South Shields changed formation in an attempt to gain advantage in the final third but Dunston remained steadfast in keeping the visitors at bay.
Craig Scott prevented the dangerous threat of Gonzales with a sublime sliding tackle to block the former Colne man, as he geared up to hammer at shot at Harrisons goal on 70 minutes.
Chris Swailes’ side had performed well under the conditions, playing as attractive passing game and retaining the ball well against South Shield’s pressing game.
As the away side applied pressure in the final 10 minutes and the hosts had Niall Harrison to thank, saving full length to deny Lee Mason who connected well at the far post.
However deep into added time, a free kick was awarded to South Shields on the half way line for an apparent handball. Craig Baxter launced the ball deep into the box and Gonzales met the ball, looping his header past Harrison.
The game went straight to penalties. Shields took first and substitute Robert Briggs fired his shot wide. Penalties from both sides from then on were confidently put away. Liam Marrs saw his penalty clawed onto the post by Boney and Gonzales levelled for Shields to send it to sudden death. Craig Baxter gave Shields a lead and with the pressure falling to Callum Elliott, Boney sent the Mariners through by saving the shot low at his near post.
Man of the Match:
Take your pick from either Craig Scott or Michael Hall. As a unit they dominated in a physical battle against the dangers of Lee Mason and Sefton Gonzales.
Craig Scott is kindly sponsored by:
Home shirt - Mr Billy Montague
Away shirt - Billy Irwin Painter and Decorators
Recovery equipment - McDonald Divine Sorbets
Training kit - Acorn Gardening Services
Michael Hall is kindly sponsored by:
Home shirt - Penalty Box
Away shirt - Mr Brian Sellars
Recovery equipment - Mr Brian Sellars
Training kit - Beauty Time Photography