Curtis Coppen salvages late point for North Shields at Jarrow Roofing
A last-gasp strike from North Shields midfielder Curtis Coppen rescued a point for the visitors at Jarrow Roofing on Monday evening.
The Robins dominated for large periods at the Boldon CA Sports Ground but were made to regret spurning a slew of first half chances when Michael Mackay opened the scoring against the run of play midway through the second period.
Despite retaining the upper hand in the possession stakes, Shields looked resigned to a harsh defeat, until Coppen struck with the last – and most decisive – kick of the game.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks on South Tyneside, finding space in behind the back four as early as the fifth minute. Jack Devlin’s tame shot from within the area was parried away by Daniel Regan, and the follow-up was well blocked by late replacement Richie Latimer.
Gareth Bainbridge was also denied by a Roofing defender – a sturdy block from captain Ian White shutting out the number nine – while another Devlin effort was snaffled at the second attempt by Regan.
Liam Atkin skied a free kick well over the bar for the Roofers, but it was mostly one-way traffic in Shields’ favour, Devlin in particular causing problems from the left.
The 18-year-old supplied a fine return pass to send Bainbridge through in the 25th minute, but the forward could not get the requisite lift on his lob, the ball easily claimed by Regan.
Devlin himself had another shot pushed out by the ‘keeper one minute later, and Regan was once again at his best when palming a firmly-struck Brad Brooking drive behind for a corner.
Shields continued to turn the screw, and though it seemed a matter of time before the away side opened the scoring, a combination of poor finishing and fantastic goalkeeping kept the scores level. Ryan Carr headed narrowly over before Lee Mason and Devlin shot straight at the Roofing custodian when clean in on goal.
The game followed a similar pattern when play resumed, Regan keeping his side in the contest with a magnificent stop from Devlin’s vicious volley.
The young forward should have done better just before the hour, wildly lashing over with just the keeper to beat. Regan had the upper hand in the personal duel between the two, and was able to parry another effort drilled at him by the teenage hotshot.
A goal seemed forthcoming, but the game’s opener in the 63rd minute went the way of the hosts.
A counter from the halfway line saw the ball worked to Paul Chow towards the left. Sean McCafferty got something on his drilled effort, but Mackay was on hand to touch the ball across the line to stun the travelling fans.
It could even have been two twenty minutes from time when Kerry Hedley slotted a through ball into the path of Mackay, but the former Consett forward somehow placed his attempt a yard wide of the far post.
With time slipping away, Shields looked less likely to get back into the tie, a deep Roofing defence and a series of robust challenges keeping the visitors at bay.
Late free kicks from Devlin and substitute Dean Holmes failed to trouble Regan, nor did Coppen’s central volley.
The Roofers thought they had done enough to close out the narrowest of victories, but referee Mick McDonough controversially added five minutes of stoppages, and Shields took full advantage in those dying seconds. Devlin drilled across the box into the path of Coppen, whose fine effort soared past a crowd of Roofing bodies into the top corner.
A point was the least that Shields deserved from the trip to Boldon, though profligacy prevented the visitors from collecting all three points from their trip across the water.
A top-five finish is still within reach for the Robins, who must clinch victories against Washington and Durham City this week to stand any chance of leapfrogging Newton Aycliffe, Consett and Bishop Auckland in the final table.
North Shields: McCafferty, Donnison, Summerly, Coppen, Brooking, Hughes, Mason (Ormston), Richardson (Holmes), Bainbridge (McGorrigan), Carr, Devlin.