The crowd observed a minute silence for the late, Kevin Law, former South Shields treasurer ahead of a game...
When the action got underway, South Shields were the more dangerous of the two, with Chris Feasey and Shaun Sweeney at the heart of the action. Sweeney took the first meaningful effort on goal after controlling a Paul Talbot freekick in the area. Chris Feasey was causing problems for the Billingham defence in the opening exchanges and he caused Craig Perry to receive the first yellow card of the game after tempting him into a risky challenge. Billingham did have answers to South Shields’ pressure, Nicky Martyn was equally causing problems, first linking up with Craig Norman before he had his strike closed down and then firing wide after cutting wide from the left.
Stephen Alison then had the next chance on goal, as he swivelled and struck over, failing to find the technique on his half volley. Billingham were then forced into their first change of the game as Craig Norman stayed down following a challenge on the edge of the area, from the following freekick Michael Dunwell hammered it into the wall before having his second attempt deflected over the bar. As the half wore on neither side could find a breakthrough as a real midfield battle occurred with the crowd on the players backs for every misplaced pass they conjured up. The South Shields bench was left frustrated as they wasted two decent opportunities, first Shaun Sweeney fired over after being played in and Wightman decided to go for goal despite having plenty of options.
On 37th minutes the deadlock was finally broken as substitute Danny O’Brian kept his composure following a fantastic double save from Tom Courtney in the South Shields goal. Billingham nearly doubled their lead minutes later as Michael Dunwell was found in the box from long ball, however he failed to find his feet as South Shields cleared. South Shields were getting frustrated as they lacked cutting edge in the middle, this was shown when Chris Feasey made his thoughts heard on the touchline before receiving a few words from the gaffer. Subsequently, half time couldn’t have come sooner for South Shields as Glen Butterworth tried his luck from at least thirty yards out, striking just over after cutting inside.
Despite Billingham’s domination, there was still time for South Shields to get a final effort on goal, as Shaun Sweeney burst into the box, forcing the save from Danny Molyneux with his effort. HT- Billingham Town 1-0 South Shields South Shields made their intentions bold at beginning of second half as they made a double substitution, bringing on Glen Ford and Peter Kane for Gilberto Chapim and Chris Feasey. And they upped the pressure on the Billingham goal, as Wightman drew a save from Molyneux and Shaun Sweeney had his head in his hands after heading over from point blank from a corner. South Shields’ pressure was eventually rewarded as substitute, Peter Kane played a telling ball to Shaun Sweeney who finished emphatically for 1-1. However their efforts were nearly made futile as Nicky Martyn came close after twisting and turning in the area.
Nicky Martyn did eventually get his goal on 68 minutes as he reacted to a low cross from the right, tucking the ball low into the corner past the despairing dive of Tom Courtney. Times called for desperate measures for South Shields as they looked to exploit a Billingham backline that has looked shaky all season, bringing on the tall stature of Anthony Burnell for Stephen Alison. South Shields began to play some desperate football as they pumped ball after ball into the Billingham penalty area without reward as Billingham managed to ride their luck.
It wasn’t till stoppage time South Shields had an excellent opportunity, Glen Ford was denied by Molyneux after being found free in the area and Anthony Burnell had the last chance at the death, striking the post following a goal mouth scramble, much to the relief of the Billingham crowd.