South Shields 1-1 Warrington Town
Northern Premier League
Saturday 7th December, 3pm kick-off
South Shields: Briggs 30
Warrington Town: Garrity 21
In an action packed game between title rivals, South Shields stayed top of the Northern Premier League after drawing against fellow title contenders Warrington Town. The draw came despite the controversial sending off just before half-time of Shields midfielder Nathan Lowe.
All of the goals came in the first half with Warrington taking the lead on the 21st minute through Ben Garrity, before Robert Briggs equalised on the 30th minute for Shields.
Warrington who beat Shields three times last season, including in the playoffs had the best chances early on. Shields goalkeeper Myles Boney tipped Warrington’s Louis Barnes free-kick spectacularly over the bar in the 20th minute.
Off the resulting corner Warrington took the lead, a short corner was headed on at the near post and after a goal-mouth scramble the ball fell to Ben Garrity.
Shields midfielder Craig Baxter attempted to clear the ball off the line, however the goal was given without many complaints from the Shields players.
It didn’t take long for Shields to pull themselves back into the game as Briggs equalised on the 30th minute. After a minutes worth of constant pressure from Shields, Baxter laid the ball off to Briggs who shot into the top corner from 20 yards out.
Warrington nearly made it 2-1 on 33 minutes as striker Tony Gray touched the ball onto the bar after a cross from the right.
Just before half-time the referee gave Nathan Lowe a straight red card. The referee clearly felt the foul warranted a straight red, but that decision looked to be a very harsh one.
Shields went into half-time at 1-1 but facing the prospect of playing the second half with only 10 men.
In the 60th minute Warrington almost went 2-1 up as a ball was played in through the middle, but Gray fired wide.
Warrington were on the attack again looking to put away 10 man Shields, this time Sunderland loanee Jordan Hunter was able to cut out the cross.
From the resulting corner Boney was able to save low and then off another dangerous corner straight after the then tipped over the bar.
Although Shields were down one man this didn’t show as in the last 20 minutes of the game they made Warrington look like the team down to 10 men.
Young prospect Arron Thompson, an earlier substitute found fellow sub Adam Thurston, but Warrington ‘keeper Tony McMillan pulled off a superb save. Hunter then curled a shot just over the bar.
Full-back, Hunter had the crowd behind him with a few bouts of fantastic attacking play down the right hand-side. He played in Baxter for a chance who shot just over.
After a tense six minutes of stoppage time with chances for both sides the final whistle blew. Shields down to 10 men for half of the match will have been pleased to draw against a team who beat them three times last year.
However they may wonder what could have been if Lowe wasn’t so harshly sent off.
Next up for Shields is the First Round of the FA Trophy against Southport on Saturday at Mariners Park.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Charlton, Turnbull (Thompson 57), Morse, Brown, Baxter, Briggs (Thurston 65), Gilchrist (Alli 85), Lowe, Shaw (c).
Subs not used: Coombe, Odelusi.
Goal: Briggs (30).
Red card: Lowe (44).