Updated: Sep 27, 2022
Gary Liddle’s superb early strike earned South Shields a third win of pre-season as they got the better of Scarborough Athletic at 1st Cloud Arena.
Liddle’s sixth minute volley was the only goal of the game as the Mariners made their first half dominance count against the National League North new boys.
Shields went into the game with confidence after turning on the style in the second half of their victory at Ashington in midweek, and they demonstrated that from the off against Jonathan Greening’s Boro.
They were in front almost immediately as a well-worked corner routine saw Dylan Mottley-Henry float in a cross from the left which was met on the run by Liddle, who crashed a 15-yard volley into the bottom corner to net his first goal in Shields colours.
Michael Woods was another summer signing to catch the eye early on and he almost helped the Mariners double their lead less than a minute later as he stole possession high up the pitch and fed the in-form Sam Hodgson, whose low drive was beaten away by the trialist in Scarborough’s goal.
Shields sensed a second goal and another opportunity came when Mottley-Henry was released down the left and came inside before hitting a low effort which was blocked by the legs of a defender.
A Mackenzie Heaney corner was headed over by Liddle, Will McCamley curled a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box and Jack Bodenham unleashed a long range bullet which cleared the crossbar as the hosts maintained the pressure on Boro’s backline.
There was a further opportunity for Hodgson, who fired over from inside the area, and a tremendous double save kept Josh Doherty and Woods off the scoresheet before the goalkeeper also denied Hodgson from close range after a tremendous cross by Mottley-Henry with the outside of his foot.
Shields’ only disappointment at the break will have been the fact they were not further ahead, and that feeling continued in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Heaney missed his kick after a pull-back by Hodgson, who also curled past the post from 20 yards and headed over from a Heaney corner as the chances continued to be created.
Scarborough could have equalised on 62 minutes, but Bodenham bravely blocked from Ryan Watson and the ball broke to Luca Colville, who was off target with his strike.
The Mariners continued to be the team making most of the headway, although a second goal proved frustratingly elusive.
Good work by Joao Gomes on the left led to a cross by Will Jenkins which Ntumba Massanka headed wide as the three substitutes combined, and Gomes looked certain to score when he was sent through by a lofted pass by Robert Briggs, but after rounding the goalkeeper and seemingly being forced to the ground by a defender, no penalty was awarded before the ball squirmed wide.
Massanka headed over and Jordan Hunter fired a dangerous ball across the area which narrowly evaded a touch before Scarborough came on strongly in the closing stages as they attempted to force an equaliser.
They could not find a way past Myles Boney, though, with Shields’ goalkeeper saving from Michael Coulson and watching efforts from Colville and Watson fly wide.
It proved to be another positive outing for the Mariners, who now have three games remaining in pre-season, starting with a 7pm kick-off at Hebburn Town on Tuesday.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c) (Doherty 32), Liddle (Bodenham 59), Bodenham (Broadbent 32), Smith (McGeorge 59), Heaney (Massanka 59), Woods (Briggs 59), Hodgson (Osei 59), McGowan (Jenkins 59), Mottley-Henry (Gomes 59).
Goal: Liddle (6).
Image: Craig McNair/ID Event Photography.