South Shields impress in draw at Hyde

Aksel Juul celebrates his early goal last night. Picture by Kevin Wilson.
Aksel Juul celebrates his early goal last night. Picture by Kevin Wilson.

South Shields maintained their place at the top of the Evo-Stik North Division after impressing in a 1-1 draw at Hyde United last night.

The Mariners enjoyed a perfect start at Ewen Fields, with Aksel Juul firing them into a second-minute lead.

Max Leonard equalised for the hosts less than four minutes later, and the remainder of the first half proved to be even.

Shields bossed much of the second half, but were unable to find a way through, despite much probing.

They remain top of the league, two points clear of Scarborough Athletic and three ahead of Hyde.

Shields welcomed back Carl Finnigan at Ewen Fields, just more than three weeks after suffering concussion against the same opponents.

Less than two minutes in, he was celebrating Juul’s opener as the forward cut inside from the right before firing in his first goal for the club with a fine finish into the bottom corner.

The Mariners enjoyed an excellent start, but were pegged back in the sixth minute when Liam Connell pulled off an outstanding save from a corner, but could do nothing to stop the follow-up from Leonard.

Hyde were threatening in the remainder of the first half, and only two superb blocks denied Matthew Beadle and Tom Pratt.

Connell also did well to save from Janni Lipka before Shields battled back into the game.

Jon Shaw headed a Julio Arca corner just wide at the near post, while Graeme Armstrong was denied by a late block.

Shields had four players booked in the first half, but the team showed good composure after the break to ensure they stayed with 11 men on the pitch.

They built up good pressure as the second half progressed, but were unable to find a way past Hyde goalkeeper Peter Crook.

Robert Briggs saw an effort saved from the edge of the box.

At the other end, Pratt appeared to be one of the hosts’ biggest threats, and on one occasion he ran at the Shields defence before forcing Connell into a good save.

The closest the Mariners came was four minutes before the end as Arca floated in a free-kick from the right which just evaded a touch before going narrowly wide.

Shields will hope to cement their position at the top when they host Radcliffe Borough at Mariners Park on Saturday.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Lough, Shaw, Morse, Arca (c), Storey, Briggs, Armstrong (Mason 54), Finnigan, Juul (Richardson 78). Subs not used: Lister, Nicholson, Smith,

Goal: Juul (2).

Attendance: 749.