North Shields 0 Newton Aycliffe 1 – Ebac Northern League Division One

For all but 20 seconds, both teams lacked a cutting edge.  Fortunately Newton Aycliffe’s Jermaine Metz stepped up to the plate in the 66th minute and tucked his chance away.  It was a game that desperately needed a goal.

There was a flat, end-of-season feel to the match.  Apart from the goal, there were only three other decent efforts combined.

The first came in the 16th minute when Newton Aycliffe’s Aaron Brown had a header tipped over the bar in acrobatic fashion by Shields keeper Greg Purvis, in the middle of the visitors’ best period of pressure when they forced a series of corners.

In the 61st minute it was Adam Pickford’s turn in the Aycliffe goal to tip an attempt over the bar, denying Callum Johnston’s first time shot.

Four minutes later Aycliffe No. 3 Gerard Richardson saw his header skim off the top of the bar.  They were all “close, but not close enough” efforts.

Metz produced the goal that made all the difference, running directly at goal, keeping calm as well as his balance to slot it past Purvis and help record their first win in eight matches.

Apart from that, too many shots were either off target or hit straight at the keepers.

The most interesting contest of the afternoon was down Shields’ left flank (where most of their attacks came from), with Jordan Summerly (later substituted) and Paul Robinson up against Metz and Connor Phelan.

Both teams have only one game to go before they see out the season, with Shields’ game an appearance in the Northumberland Senior Cup final when they’ll be facing former Northern League team Morpeth Town at St James’ Park.  The Robins will have to up their game on Tuesday.

(The main photo shows the players and officials leading a minute’s applause for former Shields player Don Winskill.)