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Women continue unbeaten start with battling draw

South Shields Women’s unbeaten start to the league season continued as they fought out a physical 2-2 battle with Wallsend BC at Kirkley Park.

The leaders took advantage of a mix-up early on before Jaz Elliott-Wood grabbed Shields an equaliser off the back of an Eve Gatens corner.

Set pieces were vital as a superb free-kick routine by Abbie Gilchrist gave Wallsend the lead for a second time.

Gatens scored from the spot when the Mariners were handed a penalty within a minute of the second half starting and although both teams were spirited, neither could find a winner.

Erin Taylor made her first competitive start as a South Shields player, while Josie Foster slotted into the starting 11, replacing Alliyah Ali and Jade Dryden respectively.

The match started brightly. Within five minutes two free-kicks had been launched, one aimed at the respective keepers, but it’s fair to say Elliott-Wood’s threatened considerably more.

But Wallsend did take the lead, when a launching effort saw Erin Donachie in the box with yards of space as she slid past Scarlett Gowans.

While it was unlucky for Shields to go down early on, the team showed great resilience to get even soon after. Gatens swung a trademark corner in and a scramble in the box fell to the dependable Elliott-Wood, who hammered it past Jenny Blench.

Goalscorer Donachie came close again when she flew down the left wing, but her attempt was confidently claimed by Gowans, who was determined not to let the earlier goal affect the team.

Gilchrist gave Wallsend a second goal on the cusp of half-time, straight from a free-kick which seemed to blindsight the Shields players.

At times the match was quite physical meaning injury breaks, both to Wallsend and Shields players, were frequent enough to disrupt the team’s flow.

The Mariners had to dig in deep and make the most of what they had and struck gold just moments into the second half when Sophie Greener was fouled in the box.

As explained, the aforementioned Gatens bagged the equaliser and Shields fought fantastically to try and get a winner which was just beyond them.

A well-worked free-kick almost gave Wallsend the lead, but the resulting header fell just past the post.

Greener nearly made the most from a Shields corner but the same thing happened, just beyond Blench.

And while both teams continued to impress the match couldn’t be unlocked and the teams settled, quite begrudgingly in the circumstances, to a 2-2 draw.

Up next for the lasses is a home tie at 1st Cloud Arena on Sunday when Shields will be facing Hartlepool United in the NERWFL Premier Division.

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