By David Robinson
Ashton sunk by Mariners
Pre-season favourites South Shields ran out easy winners on a balmy evening at Mariners Park in front of a bumper crowd of 1,283.
Aaron Chalmers stepped in a right back for the visitors with James Hooper making his first full appearance on the right wing. On a slick pitch which had been over watered beforehand the hosts had the Robins under immediate pressure as a clearing header fell to Briggs whose clever chip saw Gilchrist’s effort only just cleared by Chalmers.
On 7 minutes a pass inside Clee saw the full back catch Daly just inside the area and Briggs fired home from the spot and the visitors could have hit back immediately. A cross from Hooper saw John Pritchard arriving but unable to keep his header down. Gilchrist then collected Gillies’ pass and stepped inside before placing his shot well off target as the wide open start to the game continued.
Thurston’s cross from the right then saw Ashton escape as Gilchrist missed his kick from 12 yards out and 3 minutes ahead of the break Gillies’ long free kick was headed in off the post by full back Brown – Liam Tomsett being booked for protesting the original award. Ashton could have halved the deficit in added time as Josh Wilson’s lay off saw Hooper’s shot blocked, the ball falling to Clee whose shot came back off the right hand post.
Gillies had a low shot blocked for Shields at the start of the second period after Lowe’s effort had been punched away and a further break by Lowe saw Gillies’ shot squeezed on to the roof of the net by Worsnop. Gilchrist came close again seeing his shot eventually blocked after an elaborate build up and with 10 minutes left sub Kyle Harrison touched his effort against the post from Sheridan’s lofted pass. Another neat pass from Sheridan saw Liam Tomsett fire straight at Boney but the Mariners then confirmed their superiority as a quick break saw Lowe’s right wing cross converted close in by Gilchrist.
Team: Worsnop, Chalmers (Harrison 56), Clee, Havern, Hunt, Rowney, Hooper, Sheridan, Wilson (Smith 68), Tomsett, Pritchard (Tames 56). SNU: Crowther, Cottam.