Julio Arca ‘a man possessed’: How South Shields snatched victory in dramatic finish at Mossley

South Shields celebrate Jamie Holmes' dramatic late winner. Picture by Peter Talbot.
South Shields celebrate Jamie Holmes' dramatic late winner. Picture by Peter Talbot.

South Shields snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a dramatic late show at Mossley on Saturday.

The Mariners scored twice in a frantic final three minutes to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win, and end Mossley’s unbeaten home record in the process.

Julio Arca celebrates his equaliser at Mossley. Picture by Kev Wilson.

Julio Arca celebrates his equaliser at Mossley. Picture by Kev Wilson.

It was a win which moved Shields level on points with Bamber Bridge at the top of the EVO-STIK North Division table, with three games in hand.

Until the closing stages, it had been a frustrating afternoon for the Mariners at a blustery and sodden Seel Park.

They had enjoyed a fine opening, with a stunning 25-yard strike from Barrie Smith handing them the lead in the seventh minute.

The hosts were on level terms before the quarter-hour mark, though, with captain Tom Dean nodding into the corner of the net after a bout of head tennis in the Shields penalty area.

Julio Arca sees his penalty saved. Picture by Peter Talbot.

Julio Arca sees his penalty saved. Picture by Peter Talbot.

Both teams had chances in the remainder of the half without showing much cutting edge.

Shields goalkeeper Liam Connell did well to deny Adam Latham at his near post, while at the other end, Oliver Martin saved from Gavin Cogdon.

The Mariners had a golden chance to retake the lead 13 minutes before half-time when Dean brought Cogdon down in the area.

However, Martin produced a superb stop to his left to deny Julio Arca and keep the scores level.

Jamie Holmes nets South Shields' late winner. Picture by Peter Talbot.

Jamie Holmes nets South Shields' late winner. Picture by Peter Talbot.

Mossley turned the tables soon after.

A routine backpass to Connell took a bad bobble and the Shields goalkeeper missed his kick, allowing Jack Tuohy to pounce and turn the ball home.

Shields were better after the break and gradually began to pen their opponents back.

They were indebted to Connell for keeping the deficit at one, though, as he pulled off a stunning one-handed save when Latham’s effort deflected against Dillon Morse and wrong-footed him.

Michael Richardson fired a good chance wide, while Morse hit the bar and Cogdon was denied by a tremendous point-blank save as Shields turned up the pressure.

The conditions were becoming ever more treacherous, and it looked like the Mariners were running out of time heading into the closing stages.

They then pulled themselves level with four minutes left as Arca – who played like a man possessed in the second half – produced a bit of magic to beat his man in midfield before firing an unstoppable right-footed effort into the bottom corner.

The winner arrived soon after, with Louis Storey heading across goal for fellow substitute Jamie Holmes, who slid in from close range to spark wild celebrations as Shields’ excellent start to the season continued.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Lough (Callaghan 59), Shaw, Morse, Arca (c), Richardson (Holmes 59), Smith (Storey 82), Cogdon, Briggs, Pattison. Subs not used: Norton, Nicholson.

Goals: Smith (7), Arca (87), Holmes (89).