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Match Report: South Shields 3-1 Alfreton Town

South Shields began life in Vanarama National League North with a brilliant win over Alfreton Town as debutants Aaron Martin and Jed Abbey netted decisive goals.

Just three days after joining the club, Martin opened the scoring and Abbey scored two superb goals as an energetic Shields got the better of a side which reached last season's play-offs.

Julio Arca selected a starting line-up featuring all six of the Mariners' summer signings and after a bright start, one of them almost scored an early debut goal.

Paul Blackett impressively held up the ball and fed it to Jed Abbey, who chopped onto his left foot before seeing a low strike blocked by goalkeeper George Willis.

Shields had a number of half chances as they continued to probe, but Myles Boney needed to be alert at the other end to keep out Jordan Thewlis' drive.

Boney also beat away an effort from distance by William Fewster before the Mariners ended the second half in enterprising fashion.

Jordy Mongoy was introduced in place of the injured Luke James and he had a big opportunity to open the scoring when he broke away down the left, but Willis was equal to his low shot.

Mongoy later thought he had broken the deadlock, only for the referee to blow for a foul after he had thrashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Shields continued the pressure into the early stages of the second half and had another good chance within four minutes of the restart as Abbey was played in down the right of the box and played a ball across which found Blair Adams, whose powerful drive was blocked.

The hosts scored the goal they had been threatening on 54 minutes after more patient probing, with Martin chopping the ball from one foot onto the other before producing a cool finish for a debut goal.

There could have been a quickfire double, but Blackett's ball across the area just evaded the vital touch.

Alfreton pegged Shields back in the 63rd minute when Fewster picked out Shaun Brisley and he headed in at the back post.

The response from the Mariners was stunning as they immediately went back in front, with Abbey becoming the second debutant to find the net with a terrific left foot volley from 10 yards.

Shields were determined not to let their advantage slip this time and continued to stream forward, with Robert Briggs the next to go close as his shot from 20 yards was saved.

Boney held a sweet strike from Fewster but the home side impressively held Alfreton at bay before securing victory in style in stoppage time.

Visiting captain Dwayne Wiley was sent off for bringing down Mongoy as he raced towards goal and Abbey curled the resulting free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards to cap a terrific debut and seal the points.

The Mariners are back in action next Saturday when they travel to Boston United.

South Shields: Boney, Lufudu, Adams (c), Liddle, Broadbent, Briggs, Hasani, Abbey, Blackett, Martin, James (Mongoy 39). Subs not used: Morse, Smith, Heaney, Gomes.

Goals: Martin (54), Abbey (64, 90+3).

Attendance: 2,106.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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