North Shields 1st XI travelled to Harrogate for their first away game of the season. Missing two players from their success at home last week Shields travelled with a bare 11 knowing they’d need to be at their best to take anything from the game.
From the off, Harrogate pressed the Shields defence and created chances. After creating a turnover in the middle of the pitch, it took a spectacular interception from Shields keeper Smith to keep the score at 0-0.
Shields then grew into the game and after some fantastic play by Sowter, cutting in from the left, the Harrogate keeper was forced to pull off an incredible stick save from an O’Brien drag flick.
The deadlock was finally broken by the home side when a broken down short corner led to a strike from the top of the D which found its way through a wrong footed Smith and into the back of the net.
Shields did not let their heads drop and built their way back into the game. Swift play out from the back from Booth in conjunction with Sowter on the left led to Sowter finding space and playing a cross field ball to Rob O’Brien who clinically rounded the keeper and slotted past the covering defender.
Shields continued to create chances for the remainder of the first half and forced the Harrogate keeper into several impressive saves to keep the score at 1-1 as the half time whistle blew.
The first 20 minutes of the second half followed the same pattern as the end of the first half and both teams saw chances with Shields keeper Smith pulling off a particularly impressive glove save from point blank range.
The pressure grew to another number of short corners and Shields found themselves feeling particularly aggrieved to not be awarded a penalty stroke when a well worked routine seemed to be destined to find its way into the middle of the goal but the umpires decided on another short corner instead.
With 10 minutes to go Harrogate looked as though they had taken all three points after some scrappy build up play and a poor mistake from Piper at the back led to a reverse stick volley smashed past the onrushing Smith.
Again however, Shields rallied and as Harrogate dropped deeper to protect their lead Harrison and Bertenshaw started to pick passes that penetrated the defensive lines. One of these passes found Foster in space on the right side of the Harrogate circle. Foster kept his calm to spot O’Brien in the middle of the congested goalmouth and the pass was confidently swept into the bottom corner.
The game finished 2-2 with Shields left frustrated not to take all 3 points from the trip to Yorkshire. Some standout performances across the pitch but head and shoulders above the rest was Smith in the Shields goal who took a deserved man of the match. Plenty of positives to build on for Shields as they shift their focus to next week’s home game against Morpeth.