By Ryan Batty:
A second-half collapse from Nantwich Town saw them fall in a 4-0 defeat away at South Shields in front of a crowd just over 1,100 at Mariners Park on Saturday.
Goals from Robert Briggs, Joshua Gillies, Matthew Pattison and Blair Adams gave Shields all three points on a sun-kissed afternoon in the North-East.
Manager Dave Cooke made two changes from the side that lost to Witton on Bank Holiday Monday, as Matt Bell and Craig Lindfield returned to the side, while Clayton McDonald didn’t make the trip and James Lawrie missed out through suspension.
Nantwich had the first minor chance of the first half after seven minutes, as a cross into the box found Danny Glover, who tried to make the header behind the defence for Callum Saunders. However, Saunders was unable to meet the ball and Shields collected the ball.
Glover had another header towards Saunders a moment later, though the ball was cleared out wide. Picked up by Joe Mwasile on the right-hand side, the winger’s cross was cushioned by left-sided counterpart Craig Lindfield. The experienced Lindfield cut inside onto his right foot, but his shot went just wide of Liam Connell’s far post.
Joshua Gillies was set up to be a pain for the Nantwich defence, and he was caught offside on two occasions early on in the game, fortunately for the visitors.
Half-way through the first period, Nantwich dominated proceedings; excellent work from Lindfield saw the attacker put a cross-cum-shot into the box, but there was nobody at the far post to slide the ball home.
Matt Bell had a chance to put the Dabbers in front after half-an-hour, as a free-kick was won twenty-five yards from goal. His effort looped over the wall but was centimetres high of the bar and bounced off the roof of the net. Shields were quick to break from the goal-kick, and a cross into the area was narrowly headed wide at the back post.
Gavin Cogdon was a danger all afternoon for the hosts, and with ten minutes to go in the first half, he cut inside in the box, and his effort from point-blank range could have found the net, if not for Will Jaaskelainen who caught the ball with ease.
A moment later, Pattison came close for the hosts, but his effort was over the bar.
With five minutes to go, Nantwich could have taken the lead as Lindfield cut into the area, beating a man before the referee blew his whistle. The challenge could only have been spotted by the most eagle-eyed of officials, but it appeared as though Lindfield had caught a defender during his good movement.
From the edge of the area, Adams curled one towards goal that was straight into the chest of Jaaskelainen, a good save from the Crewe loanee.
Despite a minute of injury time, the first half ended without any major chances as both sides went in after a gritty showing. There had been opportunities for both sides to be goals up, but it was scoreless at the interval.
There were no changes for either side at the break, as the second half kicked off.
The second half started with Nantwich controlling the tempo, as Glover won the ball on the right-hand side after five minutes of the period. His cross into the area didn’t find his target and Shields were able to reset.
After fifty-three minutes, one of the major talking points of the game arose. Shields made a neat move on the right-hand side, and a cross into the box was deflected by Lindfield on his shoulder. The referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot, despite no calls for a penalty from the hosts. However, Mr. Wade awarded the Mariners with a golden opportunity to take the lead.
Briggs stepped up, and hit it straight down the middle, sending Jaaskelainen to the right and Shields into the lead.
Dave Cooke clearly wasn’t happy with his side and made two changes straight after the goal, bringing on Jordan Davies and Joe Malkin in place of Mwasile and Glover.
The whole shape of the game could have been changed on the hour mark, as a header from Toby Mullarkey in the box beat Connell, but the ball was cleared off the line.
However, Shields capitalised on Nantwich’s missed opportunity, as Joshua Gillies took the ball down from his chest, straight onto his right foot. His effort blasted past Jaaskelainen and doubled the advantage for the Mariners.
Meanwhile, the hosts made their first substitution of the afternoon, replacing Robert Briggs with Daniel Wright.
After sixty-six minutes, Malkin was let off with a warning following a lunging tackle from the youngster, a challenge that drew a heavy intake of breath from fans.
In a fairly uneventful ten minutes, there were changes from either side as Sam Croft replaced Callum Saunders for the Dabbers, while Gavin Cogdon made way for Ben Harmison.
After seventy-eight minutes, Pattison grabbed the third of the day for Shields. A poor piece of Nantwich defending allowed the attacker in over the top of the backline, and despite Jaaskelainen’s initial parry, Pattison fired past the young keeper for the third of the day.
Adams made it four soon after as another poor defensive show from the back four saw the left-back beat Jaaskelainen from close range.
That would be it for the game as Nantwich fell to their second consecutive defeat of the season, as Nantwich left Mariners Park empty-handed and made the long trip back to Cheshire in fourteenth-place in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
They have the chance to return to winning ways however this Tuesday as they host newly-promoted Hyde United at the Weaver Stadium for a 7.45pm kick-off.
South Shields: Connell, Baxter, Adams, Shaw (C), Morse, Turnbull, Mouanda, Briggs (Wright 63′), Cogdon (Harmison 71′), Pattison, Gillies
Subs not used: Hunter, Lough, Pearson
Nantwich: Jaaskelainen, Morgan, Cotterell, Mullarkey, Bourne, Hughes (C), Mwasile (Davies 56′), Bell, Glover (Malkin 56′), Saunders (Croft 68′), Lindfield
Subs not used: O’Riordan, Hawkins (GK)
Referee: Mr D Wade
Attendance: 1,141« Back to all news