South Shields boss promises improvement after fourth straight win

Lee Picton has vowed South Shields will continue to improve after notching up their fourth consecutive league win on Tuesday.
South Shields recorded another league win last weekend.South Shields recorded another league win last weekend.
South Shields recorded another league win last weekend.

The Mariners beat Gainsborough Trinity 2-0 to maintain their place at the top of the table.

Joint manager Picton was left with mixed emotions after the game.

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Although happy with the result, he admitted the performance left him wanting more.

He said: "Tuesday is a difficult one to reflect on because there were such contrasting emotions.

"I was absolutely delighted with the result and another clean sheet, but almost bitterly disappointed with the performance itself.

"Is that in itself a positive?

"We were so far below what I'd consider our par, but still picked up a clean sheet and three points."

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Picton added: "We keep saying every week pretty much that there's a lot more to come from the team, and undoubtedly there is.

"We just didn't have enough players that had good games of football on Tuesday.

"We've got a lot of good players in our dressing room and the law of averages say that a lot higher number of players will perform better in future games.

"Once we get seven, eight or nine players anywhere near the levels they can play, we're going to be a real handful.

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"I'm desperate for that day to come sometime soon and I'm sure the fans are as well."

Shields' goals on Tuesday were scored by Josh Gillies and Jon Shaw as the Mariners kept a seventh clean sheet in 11 games.

Picton and Graham Fenton named an unchanged team from the side which beat Basford United 2-0 three days earlier, and they were rewarded with the same scoreline.

Gillies curled a shot wide early on and Gary Brown had one cleared off the line as the home side started brightly in front of a crowd of more than 1,200 on a rain-sodden night at Mariners Park.

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Robert Briggs also went close with a whipped free-kick before Shields found the breakthrough three minutes before half-time.

Blair Adams touched the ball into the feet of Gillies on the left of the box and he cut onto his right foot before whipping in an effort which took a deflection and flashed past George Willis in the Gainsborough goal.

Adam Thurston was inches away from making it two early in the second half and Shields had a strong penalty appeal turned down after Shaw was seemingly pulled to the ground, but just two minutes later a decision did go in their favour as Gainsborough's Ashley Worsfold was given a straight red card for lashing out at Brown.

The Mariners struggled to make their one-man advantage count as Trinity continued to be dogged, although another big penalty appeal was waved away by the officials as a cross from Shaw appeared to hit the arm of a defender.

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Gainsborough's best opportunity fell the way of Joe Maguire eight minutes before the end as Nathan Hotte headed a corner across the area for him, but he could only blaze over when well placed.

Shields finally got the second goal to break their visitors' resistance two minutes into stoppage time.

Substitute Millenic Alli superbly played the ball through for Shaw and a deft finish from the Shields captain kissed the post before nestling in the back of the net.

The result saw the Mariners stay top of the NPL Premier Division ahead of their trip to Buxton on Saturday.

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SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Briggs, Morse, Brown, Thurston (Turnbull 59), Baxter, Annear (Mason 46), Gillies (Alli 84), Shaw (c). Subs not used: Wokoma, Charlton.

Goals: Gillies (42), Shaw (90+2).

Attendance: 1,205.