South Shields Women were narrowly knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday, losing 2-1 in a game which could have gone either way at 1st Cloud Arena.
The visitors took an early 2-0 lead thanks to Megan Sprot before Eve Gatens delivered a penalty awarded early in the second half, but Shields couldn’t find the equaliser they needed.
Just one change from the 9-0 humbling against Hartlepool United saw double goalscorer Sophie Greener swapped for Jen Wootten.
Needless to say, despite the team’s confidence heading into the match, the lasses couldn’t have foreseen a worse start - Alnwick took the lead within minutes of the game starting.
A downward header in behind escaped the Shields backline who didn’t see it coming, which gave goalscorer Sprot all the time and space she needed to strike past Scarlett Gowans in goal.
It was a fierce and confident effort which reached the far corner, where nothing could be done about it.
Moments later Gatens worked beautifully to get past an Alnwick defender before laying it off to Wootten who was camped in the box, and although she was primed for the opportunity, her first-time rocket couldn’t stay down.
And before too long the visitors had doubled their lead, again through Sprot, when Meg Archbold couldn’t bounce her defensive header far enough to keep it out of danger.
Sprot was left one-on-one with Archbold a few yards behind and a nightmarish start for the Mariners had turned worse.
The scoreline flattered the visitors somewhat as Shields did present a handful of chances in that first half - Gatens delivered a trademark corner which met player of the match Natalie May, who was unable to keep her own effort down.
Shortly after the break Jaz Elliott-Wood pulled off an incredible defensive tackle to keep the scoreline the same, blocking a surefire tap-in on Alnwick’s part.
Gatens was brought down not too soon after which saw Shields awarded a penalty, and it was never in doubt that she would give the lasses a fighting chance.
Unfortunately that equaliser never came, and Shields were knocked out at the earliest opportunity, but there were reasons to be optimistic as the team continued fighting to the very end, albeit in vain.
Attention has quickly turned back to league action where the lasses are away to Wakefield AFC this Sunday, October 8th (2pm kick-off) and more details will be shared soon.