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Mariners being blown off course in title race; SOUTH SHIELDS 1 NANTWICH TOWN 4.

SOUTH Shields crashed to a third consecutive home defeat in all competitions as a clinical display from Nantwich Town gave them all three points at Mariners Park.

The hosts went into the game sat at the top of the BetVictor NPL Premier Division table, and they handed a full debut to new signing Darius Osei as they looked to boost their push for promotion.

But it was the visitors who had the first real chance of the game midway through the first half when Josh Langley fired over from distance.

Mariners midfielder Robert Briggs had the first sight of goal for his side, but he was off target with an effort from the edge of the area.

It always looked as if it would take something special to break the deadlock and that duly arrived nine minutes before half-time as Nantwich went in front.

Caspar Hughes was given time on the ball and he punished the Mariners with his stunning 30-yard effort flying past goalkeeper Myles Boney and into the top corner of his net.

That gave his side the lead at the interval - but the hosts thought that they had got back on level terms just after the interval.

Osei looked to have marked his home debut with an equaliser on 53 minutes, only to see his celebrations cut short by an offside flag.

Strike partner Jason Gilchrist had better luck as the game made its way into the final 20 minutes when he racked up his 20th goal of the season with a far-post header.

However, the Dabbers got themselves back in front with 10 minutes remaining as Sean Cooke saw his shot deflected past Boney.

The Mariners pressed forwards looking to get an equaliser and what would surely have been a precious point in the closing stages of the game.

And they were punished in injurytime as former Stoke City striker Ricardo Fuller doubled the visitors' advantage in the third minute of added-on time. A further blow was to follow as Luke Walsh rubbed salt into the wounds by adding a fourth moments later, and that rounded off a miserable day for South Shields.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Baxter, Ross (Thompson), Morse, Verstraaten, Lowe, Briggs, Gilchrist, Osei (Brown), Mason (Gonzales) Subs: Charlton, Whitley NANTWICH TOWN: Hall, Haywood, Devine, Stair, Langley, Hughes, Lawrie, Webb, Varian, Cooke, Mwasile Subs: Bourne, Harrison, Fuller, Walsh, Malkin

CAPTION(S):

| Jason Gilchrist celebrates (above) after scoring (right) for South Shields against visitors Nantwich Town, but the latter ran out 4-1 winners in the end KEVIN WILSON

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 9, 2020
Words:423
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