North Shields lose first league game since September

Ben Richardson in action for North Shields against Durham City. Picture by Ian Warde
Ben Richardson in action for North Shields against Durham City. Picture by Ian Warde
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North Shields lost a Northern League fixture for the first time since a 3-2 reverse at Marske back in September, despite playing the better football against Durham City at New Ferens Park.

It was the Robins’ first competitive match on an artificial pitch and the game was marred by two serious injuries.

Durham goalkeeper Mark Cook had to be stretched off in the first half then in the dying seconds Shields full back Stuart Donnison suffered shoulder damage after a bad challenge.

It was Donnison who had the Tynesiders’ first effort on goal, which was pushed away by Cook.

But with Denver Morris, against his old club, and Dean Holmes tormenting the home rearguard it looked only a matter of time before Graham Fenton’s side would go ahead.

Shields were denied a cast iron penalty when Holmes raced into the box looking likely to score only to be unceremoniously clattered with the appeals inexplicably waved aside.

Morris then struck the post and Gareth Bainbridge and centre half John Parker had attempts blocked.

It was when Parker was upfield that Durham managed to break quickly and Ryan Noble planted a beauty from 25 yards past Chris Bannon.

That was very much against the run of play, and just before and after the interval Shields again went close

Firstly a Bainbridge lob was headed off the line then Holmes released Morris with a peach of a pass but substitute keeper Jordan Harkess was able to smother the shot.

Durham started to put some moves of their own together and Kyle Fryatt put a free header over the bar then forced a fine save from Bannon.

On the hour mark though the Robins gifted City a second goal when in trying to play football out of defence they lost possession to Chris Wallace who advanced and could not miss.

Wallace should have been on target again but failed from close range whilst at the other end Harkess saved at the second attempt from Bainbridge then thwarted Morris after he had been released by Ben Richardson. But there was to be no way back for the Robins.

Assistant boss Andy Bowman said: “It was a game of fine margins. If we’d taken just a fraction of our gilt-edged chances we would have won comfortably.

“We had to adjust to the quick 3G surface and you can see why their home form is so good. Still, it’s all about a reaction now and how well we apply ourselves in the big games coming up.

“Stu Donnison has ligament damage in his shoulder, which is a huge blow as he’s just returned from four weeks on the sidelines.”

North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Grey, Coppen (Forster 61), Parker, Hughes, Morris, Wrightson (Luccock 62), Bainbridge, Holmes. Subs not used: Elliott, Lancaster, Smith.