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Match Report: Brackley Town 1-1 South Shields


Martin Smith's second half equaliser earned South Shields a hard-fought draw with Brackley Town in Vanarama National League North.

The Mariners' strong start was punctured at St James Park when Danny Newton put the hosts in front on 28 minutes.

But they wrestled back control after half-time and Smith pulled them back on level terms when he forced home the rebound from a saved penalty.


Julio Arca's side pushed for a winner but were unable to add a second as they remained third in the table.


John Lufudu, Smith, Michael Woods and Aaron Martin were brought into the starting line-up by Shields, who were without the injured Robert Briggs and Paul Blackett.


They started the game the better of the two teams, with a number of crosses narrowly failing to find their target.


Midway through the first half the Mariners had their first real opportunity. Mackenzie Heaney released CJ Clarke on the counter and he broke into the penalty area before seeing his drilled effort blocked.


Brackley opened the scoring with their first shot on goal, two minutes before the half-hour mark.


Riccardo Calder’s cross from the left was helped back across the area into the path of Newton, who swivelled and found the bottom corner.


There was a half-chance for a second a minute before half-time, but Dan Turner’s delicate strike from the edge of the box was deflected wide.


Shields found their rhythm again in the second half, but Brackley proved to be a difficult team to break down.


The introduction of Jordy Mongoy and Lirak Hasani from the bench inspired another wave of momentum for the Mariners, who took advantage on 69 minutes when Clarke’s strike hit the arm of a defender and a penalty was awarded.


Brackley goalkeeper Danny Lewis dived low to his left to save Smith’s spot-kick, but the Shields midfielder showed tremendous determination to get to the rebound first and nudge in the equaliser.


The visitors sensed an opportunity to emerge with maximum points and had a number of dangerous attacks in the final 10 minutes.


Mongoy was at the heart of many of them as Shields attempted to stretch play down the left, and some fine play by the forward led to an opening for Woods, who struck wide from just outside the area.


The roles were reversed when Woods nodded the ball to Mongoy, who turned in the box and had a shot deflected wide.


Gary Liddle narrowly failed to connect with a curled Hasani cross as the closing stages approached and it appeared both sides would have to settle for a point.


There was one last chance for Brackley deep into stoppage time, but Alfie Bates’ free-kick from 20 yards comfortably cleared the crossbar.


Shields return to action at home to league leaders Tamworth next Saturday.


South Shields: Boney, Lufudu, Adams (c), Liddle, Broadbent, Smith, Woods, Clarke, Heaney (Mongoy 67), James, Martin (Hasani 67). Subs not used: Seymour, Morse, Abbey.


Goal: Smith (70).


Attendance: 674.


Image: Kev Wilson.

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