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Match Report: South Shields 1-6 Harrogate Town

South Shields were beaten by a finishing masterclass as League Two side Harrogate Town hit six at 1st Cloud Arena.

The Mariners found themselves 4-1 behind at the break in the pre-season friendly, with the clinical Luke Armstrong scoring all four of the visitors' goals. Paul Blackett had given Shields a lifeline midway through the first half.

Shields improved as the match progressed but Harrogate added two further goals towards the end to complete a 6-1 victory.

Harrogate started sharply and took the lead inside 70 seconds, with Armstrong angling a finish across Myles Boney from the left of the area.

The slick visitors had opportunities to quickly double their advantage. Matty Daly headed a Matty Foulds free-kick over and was later denied by Boney.

The Sulphurites continued to surge forward and were inches away from making it two when a ball was slid across the face of goal and Dillon Morse's attempted interception struck the post.

Armstrong ultimately notched the goal Harrogate had been threatening on 11 minutes when, moments after John Lufudu had made a goal-line clearance, the ball fell to the frontman and he placed it home.

He made it a 12-minute hat-trick with a close range header, giving Shields a mountain to climb if they were to salvage a draw out of the game.

Boney saved smartly from Abraham Odoh before the Mariners began to establish a footing.

They pulled a goal back on 18 minutes as a sharp attacking move was completed with a low ball from the right from Lufudu and a composed first-time finish by Blackett.

Shields continued to show improvements and Blackett went close to completing a quickfire brace when he pounced on a pass over the top by Mackenzie Heaney and attempted to lob goalkeeper Mark Oxley, who was equal to it.

The hosts' momentum was punctured, though, by a mistake at the back which allowed Armstrong through on goal to roll in his fourth.

Heaney could have pulled one back almost immediately, but headed a Dylan Mottley-Henry cross wide at the back post.

Blackett also had a strike blocked as Shields went in at the break with a three-goal disadvantage.

The first chance of the second half went to the visitors, with substitute George Thomson denied by the foot of Boney.

The Mariners paced down the other end and almost had a goal of their own when Lufudu's purposeful cross had just too much on it for Blackett.

Blackett continued to be lively and later surged down the right and found substitute Joao Gomes, who just had to stretch too much to get it on target.

Lufudu was the next provider as he beat his man, sprinted to the byeline and pulled a superb low ball across the face of goal which Blackett turned wide.

Again, though, Shields saw their momentum halted in clinical style at the other end when a loose ball was seized by Harrogate and Jack Muldoon scored via the post.

Gomes was lively after being brought off the bench and forced Oxley into a save with a smart turn and shot from the edge of the area.

But Harrogate added a sixth with eight minutes left, Dean Cornelius converting from close range after a ball from the right was sent back across goal.

Shields are back in action on Monday, away to Boldon CA in the Sam Bartram Memorial Trophy.

South Shields: Boney, Lufudu, Adams (c), Liddle, Morse (Hodgson 74), Broadbent, Smith, Heaney (McGowan 74), Blackett, Mottley-Henry (Gomes 54), Mongoy (Briggs 54). Subs not used: Dobson, Jenkins, McGeorge, Marriott.

Goal: Blackett (18).

Attendance: 1,007.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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