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Match Report: Stafford Rangers 3-0 South Shields

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

Champions South Shields were beaten in their final game of the season as Stafford Rangers ran out 3-0 winners at Marston Road.

The Mariners were a goal behind at half-time after Ethan Stewart headed the home side into a third-minute lead.

Kaiman Anderson doubled Stafford's advantage shortly after the hour and the scoring was completed by substitute Callum Saunders 12 minutes before the end.

Shields were aiming to end a historic campaign on a high as they played one final match in the Pitching In Northern Premier League before climbing into National League North.

But they were on the back foot from early in the proceedings, with Anderson forcing a first minute corner when Gary Liddle blocked his goalbound effort.

The hosts did not have to wait too long to find the net, although there was controversy surrounding their opener in the third minute.

Dead ball expert Tom Tonks delivered a corner into the six-yard box and Stewart robustly challenged Myles Boney for the ball, which he nodded into the net. Protestations for a foul went unheard and the goal stood.

Shields were dealt a further blow when midfielder Robert Briggs was forced off injured, and they went on to face a series of attacks from a buoyant Stafford team.

Joe Willis and Anderson had strikes blocked and Andy Burns headed onto the roof of the net before the Mariners enjoyed their brightest spell.

The closest they came was 10 minutes before half-time when a cross from the right found its way to Mackenzie Heaney at the back post and his low shot was excellently cleared.

Stafford could have extended their advantage before the break, but Burns headed narrowly wide from a Tonks long throw and Willis fired just past the post from the edge of the area.

Their second goal arrived on 63 minutes, with Anderson's low finish from the left of the box doubling his side's lead.

Rangers continued to produce most of the attacking play and they had further opportunities.

Tyreece Onyeka proved to be a particular threat, with a number of decent efforts from distance narrowly failing to hit the target.

Boney saved well with his legs to deny Jack Baxter and Anderson, but he could do nothing to prevent the third goal on 78 minutes when a free-kick was flicked on and substitute Saunders scored with his first touch.

It was a disappointing end to the season for Shields, but does not dampen their achievement of winning promotion from the Pitching In Northern Premier League at the fifth attempt.

South Shields: Boney, Morse, Adams (c) (Mongoy 46), Liddle, Broadbent, Smith, Hunter, Briggs (Gomes 11), Mottley-Henry (Gardiner 58), Heaney, Osei. Subs not used: Shokunbi.

Attendance: 1,227.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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