North Shields suffer first league defeat at home in 14 months

James Luccock breaks clear on the wing for North Shields in their match against Marske United. Picture by Ian Warde.
James Luccock breaks clear on the wing for North Shields in their match against Marske United. Picture by Ian Warde.

North Shields last tasted defeat in the Northern League at the Daren Persson Stadium back in September 2013 and had only yielded five home goals since the start of the current campaign.

Some fans may have been concerned at reading the 4-0 defeat to Marske United but there were some mitigating circumstances, including the Shieldsmen being forced to play for 75 minutes with only ten men.

This top three clash was effectively ended as a true contest when Gateshead referee Marc Edwards contentiously sent off full back Stuart Donnison after he was adjudged to have fouled Reece Kelly.

Not only did Graham Fenton’s side find themselves a goal behind as Marske skipper coolly despatched the resultant penalty it was clear that the visitors were in no mood not to make their numerical advantage pay.

The North Yorkshire outfit had started brightly and Chris Bannon between the home posts had to dive at the feet of Jamie Owens then tip behind from Gott before the same player was given another opportunity from the spot on 35 minutes and this time there was no disputing the decision.

Dean Holmes tried to rouse the depleted hosts forcing Robert Dean into a smart save but Shields struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the first period.

Denver Morris replaced the injured Dean Walker after the break but on 48 minutes Bannon brilliantly pushed round the post from Josh McDonald only for the resultant corner to be headed in by Adam Wheatley, the goal being allowed to stand despite strong appeals that the keeper had been impeded.

To their credit the ten men of Shields rolled their sleeves up and battled stoically but found themselves with too much to do.

Lively substitute Morris must still be wondering just how he did not get on the scoresheet as he latched onto a through ball to beat the offside trap only to drive agonisingly inches past the post, then jinked through the defence again only to hit the keeper with his final effort and see another chance somehow fail to cross the line.

At the other end Glen Butterworth buried a beauty from 25 yards to give the scoreline a lop-sided look and ex-Shieldsman Danny Brunskill nearly made it five but was thwarted by a brave block from home captain Kevin Hughes.

Marske, who hit seven recently at Hillheads, are certainly relishing their days out in North Tyneside and now stand three points behind the Robins with a game in hand.

North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Grey, McKeown, Coppen, Hughes, Luccock, Forster (Elliott 68), Walker (Morris 46), Richardson (Wrightson 77), Holmes. Subs (not used) Bowman, Robinson.

North Shields, at Morpeth midweek, head to Crook Town on Saturday (3pm kick off)

The sides met on the opening day and drew 1-1 but since then Crook’s fortunes have plummeted and they are now adrift at the foot of the table.

Last season in the FA Vase a 2-2 draw on Tyneside was followed by a pulsating replay at Millfield which Crook edged 4-3 after extra time.

Shields are on Vase duty on Saturday, January 17, when they host Consett.