South Shields win CEFO CFS Challenge Trophy after pre-season win over Blyth Spartans
Darius Osei netted twice as South Shields won the CEFO CFS Challenge Trophy against Blyth Spartans on Saturday.
The in-form talisman bagged either side of half-time to help Shields to a 2-1 victory at Croft Park.
The Mariners started on the front foot as Ntumba Massanka almost capitalised on an error by Blyth goalkeeper Alex Mitchell, but he did well to recover and block the follow-up strike.
The home side then had a great chance to take the lead as Connor Thompson stole the ball from Dillion Morse, but Myles Boney did well to close the angle and the effort trickled comfortably wide.
Although Blyth had the best chance of the game, Shields were still pressing for the opening goal. Massanka was presented with a great opportunity to get it, but he miscued his shot and the ball sailed out for a goal kick.
Not long afterwards, the Mariners' pressure paid off. Nathan Lowe played a brilliant corner into the front post and Osei flicked the ball into the roof of the net, after beating his marker to the ball.
Spartans nearly hit back immediately as Connor Thompson, who had been causing problems throughout the afternoon, found space in front of goal but dragged his shot wide.
Shields doubled their lead not long after the break as Osei bagged his second. Conor Tee did brilliantly to beat the defender and stand up a cross to the far post, where the in-form Osei was waiting to control the ball and fire into an empty net for his fourth goal of pre-season.
The home side got one back straightaway as substitute Karl Byrne was presented with a great opportunity, and lifted the ball over Boney and into the net.
That gave Blyth much-needed energy as they searched for an equaliser. It almost came through Nicky Deverdics as Robbie Dale's corner caused unrest in the penalty area, but his effort from close range hit the side netting.
Shields saw out the rest of the game after absorbing pressure towards the end, and look in great shape for the season ahead.