It was not meant to be for West Allotment in our final pre-season friendly before we kick off our 2021/22 Northern League Division 1 campaign this Saturday away at North Shields.
The game was always going to be a tough test for Allotment as we were coming up against a South Shields side who are certainly on the rise. Shields fielded a team which was a mixture of experienced senior players such as Jon Shaw and Robert Briggs and academy players.
The opening exchanges of the match could be considered as a bit of a feeling-out process with neither side really taking charge in the opening minutes. On the 12 minute mark, Allotment created a decent opportunity to take an early lead after some good play down the left from Jack Errington and Luke Parkinson led to Callum Larmouth having a shot on goal which was saved by the trialist in goal for South Shields.
Following this, the youthful Shields side started to take control of the game as they took the lead after 17 minutes. Sam Hodgson found himself through on goal and expertly chipped the ball into the back of the net to put South Shields 0-1 up at Palmersville.
Shields doubled their lead on the half hour mark courtesy of one of their trialists to make it 0-2. Jon Shaw played an excellent ball through to the trialist who was able to calmly finish past Finn Hodgson. 4 minutes later and the score became even worse for Allotment.
South Shields grabbed their third of the evening through Will McGowan as his curling shot from the edge of the box took a deflection off an Allotment head and finished in the top corner.
The dominance of South Shields continued for the remainder of the first half as they had another chance when their striker was played through 1-on-1. However, it was not the greatest of efforts on goal and it should have easily been a fourth goal for the visitors.
After the half-time interval, Allotment seemed a bit more energised. After 47 minutes, Dario found himself in a bit of space down the right and fired the ball towards goal only for it to be punched away by the 'keeper. A few moments later, Mikel Thompson dribbled his way into the box and looked to be brought down. It seemed like there was contact made however, the referee waved away the Allotment appeals for a penalty.
On the 61 minute mark, we saw some classy play between Dean Walker and Mikel Thompson as the pair linked up and forced a save from the South Shields' goalkeeper.
Dario then nearly turned into the provider for what would have been Allotment's only goal of the evening. With 76 minutes on the clock, Dario found himself in acres of space down the right. He beat his man and whipped in a low cross. Unfortunately, nobody gambled to get onto the end of the cross. A great opportunity though.
Despite a great second half effort, South Shields were just too much for West Allotment on the night as they comfortably won the game 0-3.
West Allotment: Hodgson, Higgins, Williams, Scott, Parkinson, Chapim, Errington, Thompson, Paterson, Larmouth, Martins
Subs used: Trodd, Walker, Dick, Carney, Marcel, Dario
South Shields: Trialist, Hunter, Hopper, Shaw, Agnew, Briggs, Lukeman, McGowan, Hodgson, Trialist, McGeorge
Subs used: Unknown
Goals: Hodgson (17'), Trialist (30'), McGowan (34')
Highlights from the game are available below: