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Match Report: South Shields 3-3 Ashton United

Ashton United took a share of the spoils as they struck twice late on in a topsy-turvy encounter which ended 3-3 at 1st Cloud Arena.

South Shields had looked set to strengthen their position at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League as they turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead with goals from Darius Osei, Jordy Mongoy and Martin Smith.

However, Ashton denied them a fifth win in six games with two goals in the final six minutes as they returned to Greater Manchester with a point.

Just one change had been made to the Shields team which won 2-1 at Radcliffe three days earlier, with Mackenzie Heaney introduced in place of Robert Briggs.

The game kicked off at the earlier than usual time of 1pm and Shields started in menacing mood, with Osei forcing an almost immediate corner and Mongoy narrowly failing to score from it as he was just unable to connect with a Gary Liddle header across the penalty area.

It was Ashton who struck first against the run of play, though, with Jack Kenny linking up well with strike partner Kielen Adams, who prodded home from 12 yards with a firm finish.

They threatened a quickfire double when Kenny ran through down the left, but Jordan Hunter's well-timed tackle and an important intervention from Myles Boney denied the visitors.

Shields soon found their rhythm again as they pinned the Robins back.

Mongoy skewed a shot wide after good work from Lewis Alessandra and later had an effort cleared off the line after rounding goalkeeper Greg Hartley.

The hosts went close again when Alessandra created some space for himself down the inside-left channel and fizzed a low shot which Hartley beat away with his legs.

Shields got their reward in the 20th minute through Osei as he struck against the club he spent 28 days on loan with earlier in the season.

Callum Ross was the provider as he retrieved a deep corner and sent in a cross from the right which Osei looped beyond Hartley and into the corner of the net with his head.

Mongoy thought he had created a golden opportunity to put the Mariners in front as he nudged the ball past Hartley and readied himself to shoot, but the officials controversially penalised the Wealdstone loanee for a foul.

After a frantic opening half-hour the game's pace settled, although Hartley was called into action to push away a powerful Alessandra header after the Shields man had been picked out by Smith.

The Mariners needed to remain alert at the other end, with Boney getting down well to push an Adams effort wide.

Shields almost went ahead on the stroke of half-time when Smith curled in a terrific free-kick from the left which beat Hartley and crashed against the crossbar.

The second half began in identical fashion as the Mariners struck the woodwork for a second time.

Osei was the frustrated player on this occasion as his dinked effort following a Heaney pass came back off the bar just 25 seconds after the restart,

Boney got down well to push away a drive from distance by Aidan Roxburgh at the other end but it was Shields creating most of the opportunities, and they went close again when Alessandra's strike from inside the area was deflected just past the post.

Alessandra had been at the heart of much of the Mariners' best work and he was heavily involved as they took the lead for the first time on 57 minutes.

Shields raced in behind on the right as they outnumbered their opponents and when Alessandra's effort was blocked by the onrushing Hartley, Mongoy was there to convert into an empty net.

Ashton now found themselves chasing the game and found it difficult to put the home side under pressure, with the Mariners looking the likelier team to notch the all-important fourth goal.

They went close to finding it from a Smith corner which caused havoc in the area before dropping to Osei, whose close range effort was blocked.

Hartley tipped a Heaney strike wide but from the resulting corner, Shields stretched their advantage as Heaney's delivery was half-cleared as far as Smith and he drilled a brilliantly controlled volley past Hartley and into the bottom corner.

Ashton's response was swift and they immediately pulled a goal back, with Matt Regan towering in a header from a Cole Lonsdale corner.

Lonsdale also provided the delivery for the equaliser a minute into stoppage time, with his corner from the right headed on before Sam Baird nodded in at the back post.

Shields searched in vain for a winner in the time that remained as they were left to reflect on what turned into a frustrating afternoon.

The Mariners are back in action next Saturday when they travel to Stalybridge Celtic in the league.

South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Liddle, Morse, Smith, Ross, Osei, Alessandra, Mongoy (Mottley-Henry 66), Heaney. Subs not used: Doherty, Gomes, Briggs, Woods.

Goals: Osei (20), Mongoy (57), Smith (82).

Attendance: 1,814.

50/50 ticket number: 8,594.

Lucky programme number: 222.

Image: Kev Wilson.


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