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Match Report: South Shields 1-1 Matlock Town

Updated: Feb 19, 2023

Substitute Lewis Alessandra salvaged a precious point for South Shields as he struck a late equaliser against Matlock Town on Saturday.

Connor Dimaio's first half goal had put Matlock on course to become just the second visiting side to take maximum points at 1st Cloud Arena this season.

But Alessandra's strike five minutes from the end extended Shields' unbeaten run to seven games.

Kevin Phillips made two changes to the Mariners team which drew 1-1 at Gainsborough Trinity four days earlier, with Jordan Hunter brought in to make his 100th appearance for the club while Mackenzie Heaney and Ade Shokunbi were also recalled.

An entertaining opening featured attacks at both ends but the first real threat of a goal came on 17 minutes when Shields goalkeeper Myles Boney made a fine low save to keep out a long-range strike.

The hosts were also largely restricted to efforts from distance in the first half, one of which came from Heaney as his curler went past the far post.

Darius Osei headed a further chance wide as Shields started to take control, but they survived a real scare when Matlock won the ball high up the pitch and Karl Demidh fired over when well placed.

There was no such reprieve for the Mariners on 37 minutes when Dimaio picked out the bottom corner to ensure Matlock went in ahead at the break.

Before half-time, Robert Briggs and Tom Broadbent were denied by blocks as the home side were given hope as to their chances of a second half fight-back.

They again found resilient opponents after the interval, though, as Matlock proved difficult to break down.

Briggs dragged a shot wide from a corner and Heaney looked set to equalise with a curled effort, only for a fine block by Jamie Sharman to thwart him.

Heaney's opportunity had been created by Alessandra just two minutes after the frontman was brought on, and Shields continued their momentum with further openings.

Gary Liddle had a strike blocked and Osei was denied by Matlock goalkeeper James Pollard, while at the other end, Boney had to be alert to prevent Jorome Slew doubling the Gladiators' advantage eight minutes from the end.

That save kept Shields' hopes alive and their efforts were rewarded on 85 minutes when Heaney's corner bounced in the area and was poked home by Alessandra from close range.

The Mariners pushed for a winner but a second goal was not forthcoming as they had to settle for a point.

They now hold a seven-point advantage at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League heading into next Saturday's trip to Belper Town.

South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Liddle, Broadbent, Smith, Heaney, Briggs, Osei, Shokunbi (Alessandra 64), Mottley-Henry. Subs not used: Dobson, Mongoy, Morse, Woods.

Goal: Alessandra (85).

Attendance: 2,047.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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