REPORT | Taddy Earn Valiant Point At League Leaders
Tadcaster Albion put in an outstanding performance to frustrate high-flyers South Shields at Mariners Park on Tuesday evening.
Picture courtesy of Kev Wilson
The Brewers battled courageously and defended heroically for 94 minutes to hold out a very strong South Shields side in front of 982 watching on.
Michael Morton and Simon Collins opted to switch things up and go with a back three formation for the first time this season.
Andy Milne, Jason Mycoe and Josh Barrett lined up in the heart of defence with Aaron Hardy and 18-year-old Harry Sheppeard operating as wing-backs. Incidentally this was Sheppeard’s first league start, an incredible achievement for the youngster in such a fierce and demanding contest.
On a blustery evening on Tyneside, Albion had their first sniff at goal inside ten minutes as Chris Howarth’s positive movement allowed the midfielder to be found by Aaron Hardy in an advanced area.
Howarth then crossed onto the head of Aiden Savory but the number nine couldn’t get enough purchase on the header to trouble Connell in the Shields goal.
It was an even start to proceedings with both team’s enjoying comfortable spells in possession.
The home side’s first meaningful attempt at goal came after quarter of an hour as veteran midfielder Julio Arca chopped inside Pete Davidson before listening to the crowd’s jeers of ‘shoot’ only to curl harmlessly wide from range.
The first big chance in the match did in fact fall to the hosts as Alex Nicholson’s lofty cross-field ball was misjudged by Taddy allowing the diminutive figure of Gavin Cogdon to chest down but he could only drag wide from eight yards.
Cogdon then turned provider for the next opening, squirming down the left-hand side before cutting back to Carl Finnigan whose side-footed effort was well held by Michael Ingham.
With clear cut chances at a minimum, Arca tried to get the better of his former Sunderland teammate once again but the Northern Irish stopper anticipated the long-range strike.
Shields came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half in the 36th minute but Taddy stayed firm.
Julio Arca’s raking ball in behind wasn’t cleared by Barrett which allowed striker Carl Finnigan to get his shot away but first Ingham saved and then just as the follow-up header looked to be rolling in, Jason Mycoe recovered brilliantly to clear off the line.
The trusty Taddy keeper was called upon again before the half was over as Matty Pattison’s dangerous free-kick across the face was well dealt with before Cogdon sliced his effort.
Albion started the second half on the front foot and saw a difficult chance come and go in the opening minute as Aiden Savory couldn’t quite make the desired connection with Casey Stewart’s corner.
The Brewers were enjoying their best spell of the contest and went close again with just three minutes gone in the half.
Stewart showed off his vision by cleverly sliding Aaron Hardy in down the left before the wing-back clipped into Savory who glanced narrowly wide.
Three minutes later and Tadcaster went incredibly close, in comical circumstances too. Casey Stewart chased down goalkeeper Connell only for the Shields number one to thump the ball into the Taddy youngster and with everyone holding their breath in anticipation, it dropped just the wrong side of the left-hand post.
Michael Morton’s side continued to look dangerous in the second half as Aiden Savory threatened once more shifting past Jon Shaw and blasting narrowly off target from a tight angle.
The home side were dealt a blow on the hour mark as key man Gavin Cogdon pulled up clutching his hamstring forcing him to be replaced.
As the half wore on and the pressure began to mount from the fans, South Shields slowly started to increase the pressure on the stubborn Albion defence.
Julio Arca worked a short corner well but his teasing cross into the danger zone was headed over by man mountain midfielder Louis Storey.
Substitute Jamie Holmes went very close to opening the scoring but his curling effort whistled narrowly wide with Ingham at full stretch.
The decibels around Mariners Park continued to increase, but frustration seemed to be the overriding feeling as Jason Mycoe did well to flick a dangerous cross away before Holmes drove wide once again.
Pete Davidson was shining once again for Tadcaster with his deceivingly sharp bursts of pace and intelligent dribbling around the pitch proving to be pivotal as he and the experienced Julio Arca were having a real ding dong of a battle in midfield.
A trio of staggered substitutions from Morton stemmed the flow, one of which being a debut for former Leeds United winger Billy Whitehouse.
Referee Derek Wade didn’t have too many contentious decisions to deal with throughout the match but the home side did have a penalty waved away with five minutes left after Jason Mycoe and Carl Finnigan came together.
Tadcaster continued to defend remarkably but having said that they could have netted a winner in the dying stages as Liam Connell could only push Chris Howarth’s cross straight to the ever outstanding Pete Davidson but his low drive was cleared off the line by Jon Shaw.
Shields had two final opportunities to win it late on but Armstrong miscued a volley from close range after some great work by Arca and Finnigan was unable to beat Michael Ingham once again.
Full-Time: South Shields 0-0 Tadcaster Albion
South Shields: Connell, Nicholson, Lough, Shaw, Morse, Arca©, Wright (Briggs 58), Storey, Cogdon (Armstrong 61), Pattison (Holmes 58), Finnigan
Subs Unused: Baxter, Richardson
Tadcaster: Ingham, Hardy, Sheppeard (Whitehouse 77), Mycoe, Milne ©, Barrett, Davidson, Roper, Savory (Corner 82), Stewart (Pugh 85), Howarth
Subs Unused: Papprill, Sellars
Referee: Derek Wade