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Match Report: Warrington Rylands 0-1 South Shields

Robert Briggs' first half penalty was the difference as South Shields battled to a 1-0 win at Warrington Rylands on Saturday.

Briggs' spot-kick seven minutes before half-time sealed the Mariners' fifth successive victory in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

The result maintained Shields' eight point lead at the top of the table heading into the final 14 games of the season.

Kevin Phillips opted to make just one change to the team which defeated Liversedge 5-2 four days earlier, with Josh Doherty introduced at right-back in place of the injured Jordan Hunter.

A slick move almost brought the first goal inside two minutes as Blair Adams picked out Mackenzie Heaney down the left and he played a superb ball into the area which Dylan Mottley-Henry was just unable to convert.

Kelly N'Mai was Rylands' biggest threat throughout the game and he flashed a free-kick over the bar as both sides attempted to wrestle the early initiative.

Darius Osei, meanwhile, had several attempts to open the scoring in the first half.

The forward had a header palmed wide by home goalkeeper Luke Pilling and went closer still when his excellently struck half volley from outside the box whistled past the post.

There were few opportunities in the next period of the game until Briggs sparked things back into life with a curler from the edge of the area which kissed the post before bouncing out to Dylan Mottley-Henry, who was bundled over by Kyle Hayde.

Briggs stepped up to send Pilling the wrong way from the spot and notch a goal which would ultimately secure another previous three points for the Mariners.

Shields could have gone into half-time with a more comfortable advantage, with Mottley-Henry dipping a shot narrowly wide from long range.

He had a better chance soon after when he was played in on goal by Briggs before being denied by the legs of Pilling, who later watched a strike from Heaney go narrowly wide.

Osei struck the woodwork six minutes into the second half, with his header from an Adams cross hitting the inside of the post before being bundled clear.

The hosts almost took advantage of that reprieve when they went up the other end and N'Mai wriggled through and found John Hunt, whose strike was well saved by Myles Boney.

Shields' remaining efforts were mainly from distance, with substitute Michael Woods, Briggs and Martin Smith all firing wide.

Boney was alert to any danger in the Mariners' goal, meanwhile, and he kept out headers from Ben Hockenhull and Harry Pratt.

Shields were composed in seeing the game out, though, as they strengthened their promotion hopes ahead of Tuesday's trip to Gainsborough Trinity.

South Shields: Boney, Doherty, Adams (c), Liddle, Broadbent, Smith, Heaney, Briggs, Osei, Alessandra (Woods 56), Mottley-Henry (Mongoy 71). Subs not used: Morse, Gomes, Shokunbi.

Goal: Briggs (pen 38).

Attendance: 571.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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