North Shields 0 Heaton Stannington 2 (29/08/2018) – Young Robins show promise in 2-0 loss to Heaton Stannington

A young Robins sided showed promise infront of a crowd of 70 as they fell 2-0 to Division Two side Heaton Stannington in a mid-season friendly.

Two first half goals from John Fox and Dean Imray gave the visitors a half time lead.

The Robins, with a team made up of eight players under 21 years of age, plus one or two first teamers, created numerous chances which tested the experienced Heaton defence.

However, in the second half of the game, Shields struggled to create many chances, leaving the home support frustrated.

The young Robins started the game very brightly and after only two minutes, the impressive Cam Cunningham cut inside the penalty area before having his shot parried to safety by Joe Brook in the Heaton goal.

Only one minute later, Jack Cooper tried his luck from long range, however, his effort flew narrowly over the bar.

The fans were made to wait until the 15th minute for the next serious opportunity which fell the Robins way; with Cunningham once again testing the reflexes of Brook. However, the Heaton shot-stopper was a match to his effort.

At this point, the only side that looked like scoring were the hosts and in the 16th minute, they came ever so close to breaking the deadlock.

Craig Spooner, who was impressive in our win over Stockton Town, managed to work himself into space before snatching at the ball, with the resulting effort dribbling millimetres wide of the post.

The visitors, having survived the early onslaught, began to grow in confidence and in the 21st minute, they punished the hosts for not converting their chances. Having been released through on goal, Fox managed to get to the ball before Dan Lister to prod the ball home underneath the young keeper.

As the game entered the 33rd minute, Cunningham was once again the focal point of the Robins attack and if not for an excellent save from Brook, his long-range effort would have dipped underneath the crossbar and into the net.

The Robins were piling on the pressure now and from a corner in the 40th minute, experienced midfielder Gary Ormston rose above his marker to make a connection with the ball; only to see it sail harmlessly over the crossbar.

However, following a nice flowing move through midfield, Imray was on hand in the centre of the box to smash the ball into the back of the net; giving Heaton a two-goal lead at the break.

As with most friendlies, the flow of the game wasn’t helped by the numerous substitutions from both sides.

It took until the 67th minute before either goalkeeper was tested. Unfortunately for the Robins, Lister was being kept very busy in this half.

Looking to put the game to bed, Joe Fulcher tried his luck from range, only to see the ball deflect behind for a corner off a defender’s leg.

With only seven minutes remaining on the clock, substitute Abu Salim went on a long weaving run, however, his effort on goal was poorly taken as the ball was sent several yards over.

In the 87th minute, David Hall tried to force a cross into the box from the touchline, however, under pressure from the Heaton defence, he could only scoop the ball into the side netting.

With time quickly running out, the Robins were unable to get on the score sheet as referee Lucy Oliver blew the whistle to bring the game to its end.

Final Score: North Shields 0 Heaton Stannington 2

Attendance: 70

Referee: Lucy Oliver

North Shields Starting Eleven: Dan Lister, Kieran Storey, Jack Donnison, Gary Ormston, Richard Pell, Liam McNamara, Cam Cunningham, Craig Spooner, Connor Campbell, Jack Cooper, Drew Eastlake.

Substitutes: Lewis Suddick, Noah Summers, Kevin Hughes, Gary Day, David Hall, Paul Robinson.

Heaton Stannington Starting Eleven: Joe Brook, Dan Bennett, Daniel Sayer, Josh Miller, Lee Middleton, Michael Hall, Bilal Nakhli, Joe Fulcher, Richard Hoggins, Dean Imray, John Fox.

Substitutes: Jonathan Wright, Joe Kerridge, Josh Holland, Shane Jones, Abu Salim.