All pictures by Jonathan White

Nantwich and South Shields played out a competitive goalless draw at the Optimum Pay Stadium.

A 50/50 challenge between David Vaughan and Will Jenkins early on left Jenkins much the worse off and lead to him being stretchered off and a 9 minute period of stoppage time at the end of the half. No foul was given by the referee who deemed it a freak accident.

There was good camaraderie shown during the stoppage, the South Shields fans chanted his name, an umbrella was given to keep the rain off him as he received treatment, and the Nantwich medical team were on hand to help as well as he was applauded off.

Thankfully, South Shields confirmed after the game that Jenkins hadn’t suffered any fractures, but had a gash on his leg that required stitches.

A stoppage of that length did affect the game, with few chances thereafter. Darius Osei curled narrowly over for the visitors on the half hour as he tried to add to his impressive goal tally this season. (pictured below)

There were first league starts for Jacob Edwards at right back and David Vaughan in midfield, and there were strong showings from both, especially from Vaughan who was awarded man of the match after a commanding, composed display in the middle.

Callum Stead knocked the ball past a couple of Dabbers defenders before falling dramatically in the penalty area.

The Mariners certainly had the slight edge of the half, Stead again was lively in taking the ball off Troy Bourne, but Matthew Gould was alert to close the angle and make a good save. (pictured below)

In injury time, Luke Walsh lofted a ball in to Sean Cooke on his 300th Nantwich appearance, he volleyed powerfully but it was deflected wide.

The second half was a breathless affair with both teams going full throttle.

Nantwich could easily have claimed the win, Cooke played a brilliant ball across the face of goal for Cockerline who it just evaded, the tall number 9 just couldn’t get his toe to it. (pictured below)

Osei spurned another chance, blasting over the bar in a good position after making the cardinal sin of leaning back as he shot.

Prince Haywood fired over before Osei forced Matthew Gould to tip round the post.

Cockerline shot wide after receiving the ball from the tireless Luke Walsh late on.

South Shields substitute Ntumba Massanka was red carded in stoppage time after an altercation with Troy Bourne to take the gloss off what had been a terrific tussle between two sides who were giving nothing away.

This was a strong showing from the Dabbers, stopping South Shields winning away from home in the league for the first time this season and becoming the first team to stop the league leaders scoring in the league this season as they made it back to back clean sheets.

Teams

Nantwich Town: Gould, Edwards (Montefiori, 58 (Heath, 90)), Devine, J. Stair, Langley, Haywood, Vaughan, Bourne, Cockerline, Cooke, Walsh

Subs not used: Miller, Mwasile, Terry

South Shields: Boney, Martin, Bodenham, Briggs, Morse, Ross, Jenkins (McGowan, 14 (Lowe, 70)), Tee, Osei, Stead (Massanka, 61), Kempster

Subs not used: Shaw, Hodgson

Red card: Massanka (90+5)

Attendance: 380