South Shields suffer defeat against Buxton ahead of Sunderland youth clash
Ash Chambers struck the only goal 13 minutes from the end as South Shields were beaten by Buxton in a tight affair at 1st Cloud Arena.
The game was on a knife-edge with South Shields building momentum in attacking areas before they suffered a body blow at the other end as Chambers produced a cool finish.
The Mariners had earlier hit the post and seen several efforts narrowly miss the target in a battle between two of the Northern Premier League’s top three.
They went into the clash without midfield duo Robert Briggs and Callum Ross, with Will McGowan and Ntumba Massanka both introduced to the starting line-up.
Shields started brightly and after seeing a lot of the ball in the Buxton final third, they had their first attempt at goal as a well-struck Nathan Lowe free-kick drifted narrowly past the post.
The hosts went even closer to opening the scoring on eight minutes after some tremendous play on the left by Alex Kempster, who beat his man and fired in a tremendous cross which Darius Osei headed inches wide.
It developed into a tight first half and both sides had opportunities on the break in the closing stages of it.
The best of them fell the way of Buxton substitute Chambers, who volleyed over with the net gaping after Jamie Ward fizzed a ball across the area.
Buxton drew a first serious save from Myles Boney in stoppage time when they progressed into a two-on-one situation and the pass from Ward sent Chambers wider than he would have liked, but the forward did get a firm strike away which Boney did well to kick to safety.
Shields were presented with a golden chance to break the deadlock five minutes into the second half. Theo Richardson made a mess of a clearance and threw the ball to the feet of Massanka, who took it around the goalkeeper and hit the post.
The home side built some momentum as they attempted to exert some pressure on the visitors’ goal. Lowe had a free-kick from distance saved, Josh Granite fired the ball inches past his own goal after a cross from Kempster and Osei had a 12-yard effort deflected wide.
They were hit by a sucker punch at the other end, though, as Chambers pounced on a loose ball and calmly lifted it in to hand the Bucks the lead.
The Mariners’ first serious threat of an equaliser came with a 20 yard volley from Lowe in the 86th minute which struck a defender. Shields’ appeals for handball were to no avail.
A better opportunity came from the resulting corner as Jon Shaw rose highest and headed the ball to Kempster, who hit the post from close range.
That proved to be the closest Shields came to a leveller on a frustrating afternoon.
Graham Fenton’s side now face a break from league action, and take on Sunderland’s Under-23s in the Durham Challenge Cup at 1st Cloud Arena on Wednesday.
South Shields: Boney, Martin, Adams (c), Shaw, Morse (Bodenham 90+5), Lowe, Tee (Rossiter 72), McGowan, Massanka (Main 57), Osei, Kempster.
Subs: Steavens, Hodgson.