South Shields 4 Morpeth Town 0: Mariners power past holders in FA Vase rematch

Shields goalscorer Gavin Cogdon
Shields goalscorer Gavin Cogdon

South Shields still have the power, it seems.

Just four days after Floodlightgate, Shields cruised into the fifth round of the FA Vase with a 4-0 victory.

The Mariners led 3-0 at half time thanks to a brace from striker Gavin Cogdon and a David Foley goal.

It was a lead they never looked like conceding. In fact, the only threat to Shields’ progression was if the Morpeth lights were to pack in, as one wag in the crowd put it.

You have to feel sorry for Morpeth. If you don’t know the story of the last few days, (where have you been?) the controversy has dominated the non-league scene.

Morpeth led 4-2 against 10-man Shields at Mariners Park on Saturday when, with eight minutes left, the floodlights failed.

The game, abandoned after 45 minutes in the dark, was ordered to be replayed by the FA amid accusations and recriminations with Shields handed a second chance few felt they deserved.

And didn’t they take it in style, even after the tie was switched to Morpeth’s Craik Park a few hours before kick off when Shields admitted defeat in fixing their generator.

Cogdon opened the scoring on nine minutes, turning and firing left footed into the roof of the net after a Foley run and cross.

The goal was against the run of play, Shaun Taylor having missed an early sitter for Morpeth.

And three minutes later, Foley broke the offside trap to latch onto Michael Richardson’s through ball.

Within seconds, Jon Shaw pulled down Jordan Fry for a penalty but Taylor blazed it over the bar.

Morpeth pressed for the remainder of the half with Shields content to try and hit their opponents on the break.

Mark Doninger just couldn’t get his head on the ball four yards out after a driven cross by Liam Henderson.

At the other end Cogdon looked lively with his pace troubling the Morpeth defence, who were playing a very high line.

Morpeth had efforts from distance by Keith Graydon and Stephen Forster before a crucial minute on the stroke of half time put Shields in control.

Morpeth pressed from a free kick and Matthew Grieve’s shot appeared to be handled.

Referee Matthew Sowerby waved away the appeals, however, and Shields broke through Cogdon down the left flank. The striker jinked his way past two defenders in the box before coolly lifting the ball over Morpeth keeper Karl Dryden for a stunning solo strike.

It proved to be the killer goal.

A bumper crowd expected Morpeth to come out flying after the break but they were very, very flat, perhaps understandably.

Shaw and Dillon Morse snuffed out every attack and the midfield four, operating in a diamond system, controlled the game and broke with pace.

Cogdon almost grabbed his hat-trick just after the hour mark. The little frontman found space in the box but Dryden denied him low to his right, before blocking Foley’s follow-up.

Cogdon was replaced by Carl Finnigan having made his mark in style, and the former Newcastle youngster had a hand in sealing the win.

Finnigan’s cross found Foley with his back to goal and he turned before lifting the ball into the top corner.

Graydon lost his discipline as he was sent off for two bookable offences and Foley missed a late chance to grab his hat-trick when clean through.

It didn’t matter as the holders bowed out, Shields progressing to a trip to Team Solent on January 28.