SOUTH Shields drew 1-1 with Newcastle Benfield, and secured another valuable point in a hard-fought game at Filtrona Park on Saturday.
It was the visitors who took the lead when a mix-up in the Shields defence allowed Shaun Bell to beat Jonny Ball in goal on 13 minutes.
The Mariners were on the end of some tough tacking from Benfield, and this resulted in them losing both Stephen Ramsey and Jordon Fraser through injury in the first half hour, the injuries allowing the introduction of both Tony Coe and Tony Burnell.
The visitors went into the break with the lead as Shields were unable to show any real threat in the attacking third.
Jon King’s side improved during the second half, and on 70 minutes they created their first real chance of the game when a free-kick was played into the box and found captain Andrew Barclay, who headed the ball goalwards but straight into the keeper’s hands.
Moments later, a cross from the right by Peter Kane was flicked on by the head of Tony Burnell, but the Benfield keeper was able to retrieve the ball before the advancing Matty Soulsby.
Shields’s pressure was to pay off on 73 minutes when a corner from Paul Talbot was met by a powerful head from Lee Bell. His attempt came back off the crossbar, but fell to Tony Burnell who stretched and managed to force the ball over the line.
The home side continued to press, and winger Chris Feasey tried his luck with an acrobatic bicycle kick that was well saved by the keeper.
It was then striker Kane who came close to snatching a winner, bringing a great save out of the keeper after hitting a low shot at goal on the turn.
The final chance of the game fell to defender Lee Bell, who again met a Talbot corner with this head, but just as the ball looked like it was heading for the bottom corner, the keeper was able to get his fingers to it.