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Match Report: South Shields 2-0 Rushall Olympic

South Shields made it five home wins from five with a 2-0 victory over Rushall Olympic in Vanarama National League North.

Aaron Martin's early goal set the Mariners on their way at 1st Cloud Arena and a second half own goal made the points safe.

The three points enabled Shields to climb to third in the table ahead of a two-week break from league action.

Rushall went into the game on a two-match winning run and began confidently, with Sam Mantom firing wide from the left of the box and Gary Liddle forced into an excellent tackle on Daniel Waldron to cut out a further attack.

Shields remained calm and gradually took control of possession, creating their first chance when Paul Blackett forced goalkeeper Jacob Weaver into action before Martin's stabbed follow-up was blocked.

The hosts struck the opener on 17 minutes after a well-worked move. Lirak Hasani fed the ball into Blackett and his lay-off was perfect for Martin, who caressed it into the centre of the net.

In sweltering conditions, there was almost a quickfire second when Blair Adams blazed a pass across goal which Jed Abbey was narrowly unable to convert.

Rushall threatened in patches during the first half and went close to an equaliser as Mantom's dipping drive from 20 yards took a deflection and went just over the bar.

But it was Shields doing most of the probing and they could have doubled their lead in stoppage time, only for Blackett's ball across the area to have just too much on it.

The away side started the second half promisingly, and substitute Tom Tonks' free-kick from 25 yards struck the Shields wall before going wide.

The Mariners looked to have more cutting edge, though, and almost made it 2-0 when Mackenzie Heaney's tremendous cross was met by Blackett, who was denied by a superb point-blank save by Weaver.

Jake Gosling curled a free-kick narrowly over and Sam Whittall was off target with a header from Tonks' long throw as the visitors continued to grow in confidence.

Shields responded well and went agonisingly close to a second goal when Heaney worked the ball onto his right foot and curled an effort inches past the post from 20 yards.

They eventually doubled their advantage on 68 minutes, with Blair Adams curling in a terrific cross from the left which Jordain Masidi hit into his own net.

Shields had a number of opportunities for a third, one of which saw Blackett played in down the right of the box before his strike was saved by Weaver.

Myles Boney was determined to maintain his clean sheet, and did just that with a fingertip stop from Whittall in the closing stages.

Martin, meanwhile, almost added his second when he flicked the ball beyond Weaver to tee up a header which he sent wide. Blackett was also kept off the scoresheet by a sprawling save from Weaver.

There would be no further goals, but Shields were certainly not complaining.

Julio Arca's side are back in action next Saturday when they host Bishop Auckland in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.

South Shields: Boney, Lufudu, Adams (c), Liddle, Broadbent, Briggs (Smith 45), Hasani, Abbey (Clarke 64), Heaney (Gomes 77), Blackett, Martin. Subs: Morse, Woods.

Goals: Martin (17), Masidi own goal (68).

Attendance: 2,236.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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