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Match Report: Marine 2-2 South Shields

Darius Osei’s late penalty secured a point for South Shields in a topsy-turvy encounter with Marine on Saturday.

The Mariners dominated the first half and took a one-goal advantage into half-time after midfielder Michael Woods notched for the third time in three games.

Newly-promoted Marine responded strongly after the break, though, and two goals in five minutes around the hour mark turned the game on its head, with the hosts taking the initiative.

Shields came on strongly again in the closing stages and substitute Osei converted from the spot with six minutes left to level the scores.

There were opportunities for Kevin Phillips’ side to snatch a dramatic win, but they ultimately took a point back to South Tyneside as they continued their unbeaten start.

Shields made four changes to the team which drew 1-1 at Ashton four days earlier, with Josh Doherty, Louis Alessandra, Robert Briggs and Joao Gomes introduced to the starting line-up.

They started positively, with Gomes having an early sight of goal as his 20 yard strike cleared the crossbar.

At the other end, a Kielen Adams effort was comfortably gathered by Myles Boney and Lucas Weir curled a free-kick over, but Shields then seized control in their search for a breakthrough.

They almost found it when Mackenzie Heaney received the ball on the right of the box and whipped a brilliant shot beyond the reach of home goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant and against the base of the post.

The away side thought they should have had a penalty after a challenge on Alessandra in the area, but the appeals were waved away.

As the game entered the 30th minute, the Mariners deservedly got their noses in front.

Briggs worked the ball into the feet of Woods and he made some space for himself before picking out the bottom corner with a clinical left foot finish from just inside the area.

Woods went close to doubling his tally two minutes before half-time, but his low effort was kept out by Passant at his near post.

Shields’ only regret at the break would have been that their lead was not greater than one, and 11 minutes into the second half they were made to rue that even more.

A cross from the left was met with a glancing header by Djavan Pedro which struck both posts and bounced back to the feet of the Marine forward, who slammed it in from close range.

Woods was denied by a superb tackle as he attempted to put his side back in front, but Shields were hit by a sucker punch at the other end as substitute Jake Burton carried the ball from left to right and unleashed an unstoppable strike from the right of the area which nestled in the bottom corner.

Marine were full of confidence and could have gone further ahead, but Callum Harris’ shot on the turn went narrowly past the post.

Alessandra, making his first start for the Mariners, went close to equalising with a 20 yard effort which Passant pushed wide with a sprawling stop.

But Marine continued to pose a threat at the other end. They almost added a third goal on 72 minutes, with Burton again at the heart of it as he drove down the right and delivered a low cross which was fired over by Pedro, via a deflection.

Shields began to pressurise their opponents in their search for an equaliser as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes.

Woods was desperately unlucky not to bring his team level when he thumped the ball against the bar from 25 yards, but in the moments which followed, the lively Dylan Mottley-Henry was bundled over in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.

That presented his fellow substitute Osei with the chance to level the scores, and he did just that with a low strike which squirmed under Passant’s body.

Both sides went into the last seven minutes full of belief they could emerge with maximum points, but it was the Mariners who had the better late opportunities to snatch the victory.

Woods was denied by a fine block, a cutback from Mottley-Henry was scrambled to safety, Osei had a shot blocked and Mottley-Henry headed wide from a Woods cross as Shields were unable to find a way to goal for a third time.

The final whistle meant they took a point back home after what was an at times pulsating affair, and they remain unbeaten with a record of one win and two draws.

They will hope to improve that record when they take on Gainsborough Trinity at 1st Cloud Arena on Tuesday.

South Shields: Boney, Doherty, Adams (c), Liddle, Bodenham, Smith, Heaney (Osei 55), Woods, Alessandra (Hodgson 78), Briggs (Mottley-Henry 78), Gomes. Subs not used: Hunter, Newton.

Goals: Woods (30), Osei (pen 84).

Attendance: 1,148.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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