Steve Coxon Cup
North Shields Reserves 1-2 Cullercoats
North Shields: Penalty 40
Cullercoats: Tallen 42, Watson 45
Cairns 9* Hall 7 (Williamson 45,8) T.Patterson 7 (Shipley 90) Charlton 8, Watson 8, Cobley 8, Bromham 8 (Connelly 75,7) Mcewen 7, Tallen 7, Morton 7, Parker 7 (Ballabanaj 60, 7)
A wonder goal from a Robbie Watson on the stroke of half time settled this tense affair between the top two sides in the league and it definitely wasn’t a cross, honestly.
With a bigger potentially title deciding game to come next week both sides could have been forgiven for having eyes on a different prize however this was most certainly not the case in a full blooded affair. With a huge wind advantage in the first half Cullercoats struggled to gain an advantage early on as time and time again long balls came to nothing as they just drifted out of play. Our best attack came midway through the half when Andy Tallen put in a great cross from the left and it was met by a thumping header from Dan Morton which just flashed wide. The home side always looked dangerous on the counter and a quick attack on 40 minutes saw Karl Charlton concede a penalty as he clipped his man just inside the box. Cairns couldn’t reproduce his previous heroics as Shields thumped in the opener. Credit to the lads though as this seemed to fire us up and it took just two minutes for the leveller to come as Tallen lashed in a left footed shot in a carbon copy of his equaliser last week. A frantic end to the first half was completed when Watson came up with his 3rd goal in 2 games as he cleverly managed to disguise a deliberate shot at goal from the left and make it look exactly like a cross which floated over the keepers head and in off the back post. At half time we discussed the need to dig in and defend while looking for the counter attack as it was Cullercoats turn to face the horrendous wind. Unfortunately the counter attacks were few and far between as Shields dominated the second half forcing cullercoats to give an outstanding display of backs to the wall defending. On at least 3 occasions the home side looked certain to score but there was always a cullercoats body on the line to block shots and clear any danger. One counter attack saw Robbie overlap from the left and his glorious pass (or was it a shot??) set Tallen away and his attempt to settle the game with a chipped shot ended with the ball bouncing out off the bar. Late on shields applied huge pressure in search of a point forcing a succession of corners and only a breathtaking save from Cairns in the last minute kept our lead intact.
An excellent 3 points today, which puts us in a great position to qualify for the semi finals with only one team going through from each group but we still need to be on our game in the final match against a tough side in Benton Con Club. A massive league game next week against North Shields again who will be hell bent on avenging today’s result with a place at the top of the league at stake.