SPORT 25-09-22 SHIELDS-NEP
Kevin Phillips’ South Shields were frustrated by Atherton Collieries at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday as the Mariners were held to a 0-0 draw.
There were several opportunities for the home side, but the Colls proved difficult to break through and maintained their unbeaten away record with a resolute display.
Shields are unbeaten in all competitions so far this season themselves and remain top of the table heading into Tuesday's trip to Marske United.
Atherton had the first chance of the game as Marcus Cusani whipped a dangerous cross into the box, but Ethan Kershaw's header was straight at Myles Boney.
The visitors kept up the early pressure as Scot Bakkor nearly scored a wonder goal, only for his curling effort to go over the bar.
The in-form Michael Woods had a golden opportunity to add to his season's goal tally as Mackenzie Heaney headed the ball across goal, but the midfielder's close-range effort was too high.
After a period of pressure, Martin Smith let fly on a loose ball from distance, and his strike skimmed the post as it went wide. A further chance came and went when Dylan Mottley-Henry chased a long ball and teed up Lewis Alessandra, whose effort cleared the crossbar.
Heaney had another chance to fire Shields ahead as he skipped past a defender, but his goal-bound shot was headed away by Joel Amado. The Mariners kept the ball alive and Heaney's knockdown was sliced wide by Woods.
The Mariners started the second half with intent as Woods flicked a deft pass through to Mottley-Henry, but the winger's touch was just too heavy and the ball was cleared behind for a corner.
Atherton rarely threatened the Shields goal, although they did create a chance when Gaz Peet hit a deflected effort which Boney was alert to as he tipped the ball behind.
Straight down the other end, Smith scooped a lovely pass into Woods' path, but he got under the ball and his volley went harmlessly over.
The Shields pressure continued and Heaney miscued a shot from a good position after a superb cross from Alessandra.
Robert Briggs curled another decent opening over from the edge of the box and Atherton goalkeeper Nico Hansen saved from Mottley-Henry as the Mariners continued to search for a breakthrough, while a long-range strike by Briggs skimmed the post in the aftermath.
Late into the game, Heaney tried his luck from the edge of the area, but the winger's effort was high and wide and Shields couldn't find a way through.
With their last foray forward, Atherton could have won the game when Oli Roberts broke from a corner and skipped a challenge by Sam Hodgson before he fired his close-range strike straight at Boney.
Shields are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Marske in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
South Shields: Boney, Newton, Doherty, Liddle, Morse, Smith, Heaney, Woods, Alessandra (Osei 74), Briggs (Hodgson 83), Mottley-Henry. Subs not used: Adams, McGowan, Broadbent.