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Match Report: South Shields 1-1 Warrington Town

Paul Blackett continued his prolific run of form as his second half equaliser earned South Shields a point against Warrington Town.

The Mariners were at risk of a sixth successive defeat until Blackett netted 15 minutes from the end of a tetchy clash at 1st Cloud Arena.

Blackett's goal was his 15th in Vanarama National League North this season.

It was the first home game in charge for the interim management team of Elliott Dickman and Lee Picton, and they made two changes to the side which started the 2-1 defeat at Blyth Spartans in the final fixture of 2023.

CJ Clarke replaced the ill John Lufudu and Jed Abbey came in for Lirak Hasani, who was recalled by parent club Gateshead on the eve of the match.

A promising start almost led to an opening for Jordy Mongoy, but he was flagged for offside as he ran towards goal.

Tom Hannigan headed narrowly wide from a corner at the other end as Warrington threatened a breakthrough of their own.

Shields went closer still when a brilliant through ball by Michael Woods found Mongoy, but Dan Atherton was out quickly to save before brilliantly keeping out the follow-up from Abbey with his shoulder.

Hannigan again got on the end of a corner on 17 minutes, but this time Clarke was on hand to clear his effort off the line.

The decisive moment of the first half came shortly before the half-hour mark when Gary Liddle was adjudged to have fouled Isaac Buckley-Ricketts in the area and Sean Williams rifled the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.

Abbey curled narrowly wide as Shields looked for an equaliser six minutes prior to half-time and Paul Blackett glanced a header wide in stoppage time, but there was no way through for the hosts before the break.

There were few opportunities in the early stages of the second half but the Mariners almost created an opening when Martin Smith played in Blackett down the right and his ball across the face of goal narrowly evaded a touch.

Shields went agonisingly close to an equaliser on 67 minutes as Tom Broadbent let loose with a sledgehammer of a free-kick from 20 yards which Atherton brilliantly tipped over.

The leveller did come 15 minutes from the end as Blackett was played in down the right of the area and he rounded Atherton before finishing brilliantly from an acute angle.

There was almost a quickfire double from the home side when Blackett ran towards goal again, but this time Atherton was out quickly to save and Aaron Martin sent the rebound wide.

Shields thought they had won it when Woods' strike hit Martin and went in, but the offside flag cut short the home celebrations.

The Mariners are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Bishop's Stortford.

South Shields: Boney, Clarke, Adams (c), Liddle, Broadbent, Smith, Briggs, Woods, Abbey, (Heaney 75), Blackett (Savage 86), Mongoy (Martin 58). Subs not used: Marriott, Fletcher.

Goals: Blackett (75).

Attendance: 1,867.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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