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Match Report: Stalybridge Celtic 1-2 South Shields


South Shields secured their place in the first round of the Isuzu FA Trophy with a deserved 2-1 win at Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday.


Sam Hodgson fired the Mariners into an early lead and they controlled much of the proceedings before Joao Gomes added a second as the game approached the hour mark.


Stalybridge controversially pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in the closing stages but they were unable to find an equaliser as Shields emerged triumphant in the third qualifying round tie.


Kevin Phillips’ side were looking for a response to their first defeat of the season, at FC United four days earlier, and started in perfect fashion.


Captain Blair Adams clipped the ball forward to Robert Briggs and he guided it into the path of Hodgson, who took a touch before firing a half-volley which took a deflection on its way into the bottom corner.


The home team had already survived a scare when defender Dahrius Waldron narrowly avoided scoring an own goal, and they almost went two down as Hodgson’s dink from a tight angle went just off target.


Hodgson had a header saved by Stalybridge goalkeeper Greg Hall, but the Mariners were unable to create more clear-cut opportunities in the remainder of the first half despite their dominance in possession.


Celtic were largely restricted to strikes from distance and set-pieces, and the closest they came was a venomous corner by Moses Yoak which the Mariners scrambled clear.


Shields started the second half well and after Hodgson had a shot saved, they doubled their advantage on 56 minutes.


Adams had a strike blocked and the ball broke to Gomes, who rifled it into the roof of the net as he scored against Stalybridge for the second time this season, having also netted on the opening day of the league campaign.


The Mariners almost scored again with their next attack as Dillon Morse picked out Briggs with a terrific ball over the top and the midfielder controlled it superbly, but Hall was out quickly to close the angle and save.


Hodgson was denied a second by Hall and Shields had a better chance when Will McGowan swung in a brilliant corner to Tom Broadbent, who turned it wide from close range.


Stalybridge were controversially awarded a penalty with two minutes left after Broadbent was adjudged to have committed a foul, and Osebi Abadaki slotted home from the spot to half the hosts’ deficit.


That set up a nervous finale for the Mariners, but they saw out the remainder of the game well to seal their place in Monday’s first round draw.


Shields are back in action on Tuesday when they take on Washington in the Durham Challenge Cup at 1st Cloud Arena.


South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Broadbent, Morse, Ross, Osei, McGowan, Hodgson, Briggs, Gomes. Subs not used: Smith, Mottley-Henry, Heaney.


Goals: Hodgson (6), Gomes (56).


Attendance: 311.

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