Match Report: North Shields 1 Newcastle Blue Star 0 (22/08/20): First half Wilson strike sends fans home happy

Dan Wilson’s first half strike was enough to hand North Shields a 1-0 pre-season win at home to Newcastle Blue Star.

The Robins entered the break one goal up, thanks to a well-taken effort from Wilson, from the edge of the box.

Callum Smith almost doubled the Robins’ lead early in the second period, with an effort which drifted over the crossbar.

Craig Spooner, Gary Ormston and Jamie Clark all had efforts late on which on another day would have found the back of the net.

But the hosts were able to hold on for the win, with Blue Star unable to trouble Greg Purvis in the Robins’ goal.

With fans finally being allowed back into non-league grounds, both teams started well; keen to give their supporters something to cheer after such a long break without football.

But with the Northern League season starting in a fortnight, the hosts registered the first real effort on goal in the 15th minute, with David Robinson’s deflected shot finding the welcoming arms of Blue Star’s keeper.

The hosts kept pressing forwards in search of the opening goal and in the 26th minute, Wilson’s towering header stung the palms of the visiting shot-stopper.

Only a minute later, the returning Shields striker came even closer to putting the hosts ahead, but he couldn’t quite get on the end of Cassidy’s delightful cross.

Wilson was beginning to cause Blue Star a world of trouble and in the 34th minute, he gave Shields a well-deserved lead, expertly turning his man on the edge of the box before firing low into the bottom corner, with the keeper rooted to the spot.

Just before the break, the Robins almost saw their lead doubled, with a great passing move releasing Smith in the box, but his attempted low cross was deflected to safety before a Shields player could fire home.

The Robins carried on where they had left off in the second half, almost grabbing a second goal in the 51st minute, with Smith’s shot drifting narrowly over the crossbar.

Less than sixty seconds later, the Blue Star keeper needed to be fully alert to deny Robinson his first goal for the club, with his deflected shot heading for the bottom corner but for a top save.

Having come on to replace Robinson moments earlier, Spooner almost had a perfect start to his game, almost putting the Robins two goals up, but having been fed through by Wilson, his powerful effort was driven wide in the 68th minute.

With 15 minutes left, the Robins were looking to put the game to bed once and for all, with Ormston forcing the Blue Star shot-stopper into a fine save, but with the linesman flagging for offside, his strike wouldn’t have counted anyway.

As the visitors began to tire, following wave after wave of Shields attack, it allowed the hosts more and more space in and around the box. Jamie Clark, who was having an impressive pre-season, was left frustrated as he could only direct Cam Cunningham’s excellent cross inches over the crossbar.

But before the hosts could add to their score, referee David Pill brought the game to an end, handing North Shields their fourth pre-season win.