Despite another resolute defensive performance, the Collieries departed Mariners Park with no share of the spoils following their clash with South Shields. The occasion also marked Gaz Peet's 350th outing for the Stripes, which was celebrated with a moment of brilliance for the wing-back as he scored his 48th goal for the club. The Mariners began the game on the front foot, with Danny Taberner making his first save of the game after just five minutes of play, before producing one of the finest Colls stops of the season minutes later, diving at full stretch to stop a powerful & curling Robert Briggs effort from finding the top corner.
It wasn't long before this early pressure from the hosts paid off. Nathan Lowe, on his 100th outing for Shields, tested Danny Taberner with a close range effort before Sam Hodgson converted the rebound, giving the Mariners the lead after 11 minutes.
The response from the Collieries was immediate, and Gaz Peet produced a goal of the season contender to level the scores five minutes later. After intercepting a wayward pass from Shields' Alex Kempster on the edge of the Colls penalty area, Peet ran the length of the pitch unchallenged, before dodging last ditch tackles from Mitch Rose & Dillon Morse and firing the ball into the roof of the net from the corner of the six-yard box.
The two sides exchanged shots for the next portion of the game, with Briggs and Adams coming close for the hosts whilst Gaz Peet tested stopper Myles Boney with a trademark free-kick from the right hand corner of the box. The Collieries came close once again soon after, as Jack Lenehan's effort following a troubling long throw was stopped by the extended leg of Dillon Morse, and the two teams entered the half-time interval on level terms.
A rare defensive lapse from the otherwise resolute Collieries gifted the Mariners an early lead in the second half. With less than 100 seconds of the half played, a Dillon Morse cross into the penalty area was flicked on by Alex Kempster, finding an unmarked Nathan Lowe, who drilled home into the bottom corner from the edge of the six yard box.
Following this goal, the game became a frustrating midfield affair with both teams reduced to half-chances. The Collieries midfield, particularly Ethan Kershaw and Gaz Peet, were a continuous thorn in the side of the Shields back-line, bolstered by the addition of Aaron Smith from the substitutes bench.
The Colls were frustrated on the 73 minute mark, as a reckless body-check on Gaz Peet in the corner of the penalty box was given a blind eye by the referee, much to the relief of the home faithful. The hosts had taken a physical approach to defending against the wide threat throughout, with incidences of this approach conceivably crossing the line being overlooked on multiple occasions.
At this point however, many of the travelling Colls faithful were just intent on enjoying the day out regardless, adopting a small corner behind the goal and creating a terrific atmosphere throughout the second half, which continued long past the full-time whistle.
The Collieries switched up their attack as they chased an equaliser, with the introduction of the relentless Matty Gillam and the long awaited return of Marcus Cusani bolstering the front-line as the Stripes looked to keep the Mariners on the back foot. However, despite some late throws and corners threatening the penalty area, this ultimately came to no avail, and South Shields held on for a justified three points.
Ultimately, the Colls once again went the distance against the professional South Shields, with the narrow margins deciding the match a testament to an incredibly hard-working & resolute group of lads in black & white, who walked away frustrated not to take away a share of the spoils.
Speaking after the game, manager Bradley Cooke spoke about the goal that marked Gaz Peet's 350th appearance, and praised the work of the Colls physiotherapy & sports science duo of Matt & Brittany, whose efforts to help lads such as Marcus Cusani return to fitness following injury have been fantastic all season. The full interview is available on YouTube: youtu.be/1PHXAUCVkecThe Colls: Danny Taberner, Clive Smith, Gaz Peet, Joel Amado, Danny Lafferty, Luca Defreitas-Hansen, Ethan Kershaw (80' Matty Gillam), Danny Lambert, Declan Daniels (85' Marcus Cusani), Jack Lenehan and Zack Clarke (60' Aaron Smith) Subs Unused: Niall Battersby & Scott Sephton Attendance: 2,072 Match Report: Rob Clarke Photo: David Featherstone