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Match Report: South Shields 1-3 Blyth Spartans

South Shields endured a Boxing Day to forget as Blyth Spartans ran out 3-1 winners in the North East derby.

The Mariners were aiming to return to form after a run of three straight defeats, but they were second-best at 1st Cloud Arena.

Three unanswered goals in the first half did the damage for a rampant Spartans in the Vanrama National League North clash, despite a goal late on from Paul Blackett.

The away team started well and had an early chance when Michael Liddle's cross from the left was turned behind under pressure by Blair Adams.

They went in front on 11 minutes, with Nicky Deverdics' menacing corner from the left taking a touch on its way into the bottom corner.

Mikael Ndjoli was a constant threat down the left and he threatened a second, cutting inside before seeing a strike deflected wide.

But the visitors did not have to wait too much longer to double their advantage. On the quarter-hour, two former Shields men combined as Jack Bodenham fed Cedric Main and he turned before sending a pinpoint shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Shields had a big chance to half the deficit when Lufudu's cross found CJ Clarke at the back post and his diving header was parried by Dan Langley in the Spartans goal.

Blackett also sent a header wide but the bigger chances came at the opposite end, and Ndjoli tested Myles Boney with a stinging drive which the Mariners stopper tipped over.

Boney also saved from Main but the third goal came 10 minutes before half-time, with Finn Cousin-Dawson glancing a header into the opposite corner from a Liddle cross.

Langley denied Blackett with a fine save towards the end of the half but there was still time for Blyth to go close again, with Ndjoli narrowly unable to get on the end of a Rhys Evans cross.

Shields made two changes at half-time and started the second half brightly. Luke James got in behind down the right and slid a ball across which Spartans scrambled clear.

It proved to be an improved showing from the Mariners after the break, but they were unable to find a route back into the game.

At the other end, Boney was forced into a superb save from Will McGowan in the closing stages as Spartans threatened a fourth.

Blackett pulled one back with three minutes left, turning the ball home from close range after Langley had spilled a cross from CJ Clarke.

But there was to be no grandstand finish as Spartans saw things out to return home victorious.

The sides meet again on Saturday in the reverse fixture at Croft Park.

South Shields: Boney, Lufudu, Adams (c), Liddle, Morse, Smith (Briggs 46), Abbey (Hasani 46), Clarke, Blackett, James (Mongoy 71), Martin. Subs not used: Heaney, Sloan.

Goal: Blackett (87).

Attendance: 2,647.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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