South Shields move to within one win of promotion

Julio Arca battles against Brandon. Picture by Peter Talbot
Julio Arca battles against Brandon. Picture by Peter Talbot
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South Shields are now within one win of promotion after battling to a 3-1 victory over Brandon United.

A resilient Brandon side made things difficult for Shields, who had to wait 65 minutes to break the deadlock.

A resilient Brandon side made things difficult for Shields, who had to wait 65 minutes to break the deadlock.

Martyn Coleman was the man who broke through, and he added a second.

Leepaul Scroggins wrapped up the win with a thumping strike, although Brandon did grab a consolation in stoppage time.

Shields enjoyed the majority of the possession throughout, and could have took the lead early on, but Warren Byrne’s effort was blocked.

Coleman headed wide, while John Grey hit the bar for the Mariners as he got on the end of a Barrie Smith cross.

The game was played in front of a crowd of 660 at Mariners Park, which means Shields have now played in front of more than 20,000 home fans since returning to the ground last summer.

In the second half, Byrne had a shot deflected just behind and then saw a huge penalty appeal waved away.

However, the Mariners finally broke the deadlock on 65 minutes.

Coleman was played in on goal, and after rounding the goalkeeper, it initially looked as though his shot would not have enough on it to find the net.

However, it trickled across the line as the hosts’ title bid was handed a further boost.

Byrne went close to adding a second when his drive was saved, and the hosts scrambled the ball to safety.

However, with the deadlock broken, Shields found it easier to pick a way through the visitors’ backline.

Coleman all but wrapped up the points 13 minutes before the end.

Andrew Brown - who was impressive in midfield on his home debut - curled in a superb free-kick from the left, and former Penrith striker Coleman was there to force it in from close range.

Shields saw the game out effectively, and made it three a minute into stoppage time when captain Scroggins rifled into the top corner.

There was still time for Brandon to get on the scoreline themselves, though, with Paul Basey tapping home after a mistake at the back. It made little difference for league leaders Shields, who will win promotion to Northern League Division One with a victory at Easington Colliery tomorrow.

Title rivals Ryhope also won last night as they saw off Northallerton, so Shields know maximum points in their forthcoming games are imperative as the pressure is kept up at the top.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Turner, Hall, Riding, Arca (Hughes 78), Brown, Scroggins (c), Byrne (Ramsey 74), Coleman, Grey (Carson 71). Subs not used: Richardson, Hassan.

Goals: Coleman (65, 77), Scroggins (90+1).

Attendance: 660.