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Match Report: Warrington Town 2-2 South Shields

South Shields were pegged back as Warrington Town came from two goals behind to draw an entertaining Vanarama National League North clash at Cantilever Park.

Shields had a dream start when John Lufudu was fouled in the box after just seven seconds, with home defender Andrew White sent off in the process.

Robert Briggs converted the resulting penalty and had another opportunity from 12 yards when the Mariners won another spot-kick on 15 minutes.

Warrington goalkeeper Dan Atherton parried Briggs' second penalty, but Paul Blackett swept in the rebound as Shields doubled their advantage.

Isaac Buckley-Ricketts pulled one back for the hosts midway through the first half and after the Mariners failed to find a third goal despite a number of chances, the Yellows levelled 15 minutes from the end when Mitch Duggan headed in from a corner.

Both sides had opportunities for a winner in a frantic finish to the game, but it ultimately ended in a point apiece.

Shields lined up in a 3-5-2 formation and the shape reaped immediate dividends, with the ball lofted to Lufudu from kick-off before the right-back was pushed to the ground by White, who was sent off.

Briggs sent Atherton the wrong way from the spot to complete a dream start for his side.

The Mariners sensed blood and after Michael Woods and Jed Abbey were both denied by blocks, the visitors were awarded a second penalty for handball.

Atherton pushed Briggs' spot-kick to his left, but Blackett was quickly on the scene to rifle into the bottom corner and double Shields' advantage.

Warrington composed themselves and, on 24 minutes, grabbed a lifeline when Buckley-Ricketts stole possession 10 yards outside the Shields box and drove into it before clinically finishing via the post.

Blackett could have restored the two-goal advantage when Lufudu played him in down the right and he attempted to round Atherton, but the goalkeeper responded well to narrow the angle and save.

The last action of the first half saw Sean Williams whip in a free-kick from the left for the hosts which fizzed past the post.

Shields were again out of the blocks quickly in the second half and could have been awarded a third penalty, but a push on Lufudu went unpunished.

There was then a flurry of openings around the hour mark for the Mariners.

Atherton saved well from Blackett, Aaron Martin narrowly failed to get a shot away from close range and the same player saw a low drive held by Atherton.

The goalkeeper was called into action again in the 67th minute when Lufudu was played in down the right and wrong-footed him with his shot. However, Atherton adjusted himself quickly to stick out his left hand and push the ball wide.

That was the lifeline Warrington needed, and they grabbed it with both hands with 15 minutes remaining as Duggan nodded in at the near post from a corner.

Shields now found themselves chasing a victory which had been in their hands, and they had opportunities to reclaim their lead.

A tremendous block kept out a close-range Blackett header and Tom Broadbent had a header cleared off the line from a corner.

Several scrambles in the Warrington box also came to nothing, and the hosts could have taken all three points deep into stoppage time when substitute Josh Amis was played in on goal and Myles Boney was forced to make a superb save with his foot to preserve a point.

Shields are back in action next Saturday when they host King's Lynn Town in the league.

South Shields: Boney, Lufudu, Adams (c), Liddle, Morse (James 82), Broadbent, Briggs, Woods, Abbey (Hasani 73), Blackett, Martin. Subs not used: Smith, Heaney, Mongoy.

Goals: Briggs (pen 2), Blackett (15).

Attendance: 1,347.

Image: Kev Wilson.


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