Tag: Lewis Graham

Spennymoor shine in Bank Holiday sun

A guest match report by Adam Amos

Sadly on a bank holiday Monday at the Brewery Field it was only the weather that was glorious for Shildon, after being defeated 4-2 by Vase holders Spennymoor.

Shildon, attacking up the slope  first, lacked any real bite in the first forty-five minutes. Perhaps it was the heat, the early kick off (1pm) or the second game in two days for the depleted squad, but they certainly struggled to spark.

The hosts were not much better, but they were the ones that found themselves two-nil up at the break.  Having loud claims for a penalty waved away in the first five minutes, when the goalkeeper Lewis got fingertips to the ball before the onrushing Cogdon, it wasn’t long before the referee would point the spot.

Brackstone brought down Dodds in the six yard box as a cross was coming in. You had to feel for Lewis in the Shildon goal as not only did he expertly save the penalty but two rebounds as well – only to be beaten at the fourth attempt.

Spenny’s second came from 25 yards out on the right wing when Dodds put the ball in the top corner of the net. Whether or not it was a shot or cross is up for debate. The fact that he had too much time and space to do it, isn’t. The half fizzled out after that with Shildon’s only real threat being Scroggins who saw a couple of speculative long rangers go well wide.

Whatever Shildon had at half-time it was more than the majority of the crowd, who were left complaining about the lack of the usual Burger van (a mix-up with kick-off time apparently).

Nevertheless, whatever Gary Forrest had said to his men it obviously worked, as within ten seconds of the kick off, Billy Greulich-Smith got on the end of a couple of clever passes to run clear and score with a clever lob.

It was just what Shildon and the game needed and five minutes later the visitors were level with Ben Wood latched on to a great ball down the right channel to keep calm and fire across the ‘keeper and in off the post.

Shildon, first to everything, were a different side, and Spenny looked rattled.

The large away contingent were really getting behind their team, but the game changed in the 55th minute. Scroggins, who had been at the heart of the resurgence, went clear through and should have put the Railwaymen ahead, but failed to hit the target, or indeed the tin shed behind the goal.

This seemed to wake Moors and give them time to compose themselves. And sure enough, eight minutes later, a clever run and cross by Dodds on the right set up a tap in for Cogdon.

Shildon did not give up and battled hard, but when the ref failed to give a free kick that left a man down in the Spenny half, they saw an opportunity to go on the counter and wrap the game up in the 76th minute.

Shildon will be left kicking themselves. If the second half efforts had been matched in the first they may well have got something from the home of the favourites for the title. They will have to wait until the reverse fixture on Boxing Day to have another pop, when the weather may be a little different.

Understrength Shildon hold West

Shildon’s bench for today’s home derby against West Auckland Town consisted entirely of its coaching staff: Keith Finch, who has ‘officially’ retired from goalkeeping duties to take up the role as coach to new number one stopper, Lewis Graham; first team coach, Phil Brumwell and assistant manager, Stuart Niven.

Mirroring last season, an injury crisis meant that the coach and assistant were forced to register as players in midweek to give this match any chance of taking place. Indeed, as late as lunchtime, there remained uncertainty about whether the match would go ahead with Shildon unsure if they could muster the required number of players.

Eventually a full starting compliment showed up, but Niven’s service were required in the second half, when he replaced debutant Adam Garrity after the new signing was thrown in at the deep end, having put pen to paper just hours earlier.

In the end, the makeshift side were unfortunate not to take all three points, having created several clear-cut chances while the back four shut out the visiting attack, Lewis Graham remaining untested virtually throughout.

The Railwaymen could have got off to a flier, but Billy Greulich-Smith, in only his second start, demonstrated his rustiness by missing the target from close range. Shortly afterwards Darren Richarsdon could also have given the home side the lead but squandered the effort.

Having survived the opening attack, the visitors responded with their own counter, putting the Railwaymen under the cosh for a sustained period, although they failed to test Graham in the Shildon goal. In fact, the closest effort in the remainder of the first half fell to the hosts when Billy Greulich-Smith narrowly failed to reach a driven cross by Garrity.

One would be forgiven for mistaking which was the weakened side in the second half as Shildon took control of the game while comfortably dealing with most of what West could throw at them.

However, a succession of Shildon chances went begging as first, Darren Richardson couldn’t redirect a Ben Wood cross onto the target and Wood’s backward header from a free kick also missed the target.

Then came two strong claims for a penalty, although most of the pleas, waved away by the referee, were from the stands.

Undoubtedly the best chance of the game fell to Greulich-Smith in the 68th minute but he inexplicably failed to convert Ben Wood’s cross in front of an open goal from three yards. The striker, a fan’s favourite who otherwise had an excellent game, put the missed opportunity down to rustiness. Although one would have been hard pressed to realise he lacked fitness as, in trademark fashion, he chased every loose ball.

Perhaps West’s best opportunity came in the 80th minute when a right wing cross was headed back across the box to Luke Carr, who blazed over from 12 yards.

Shildon were able to create one other goalscoring opportunity late in the game. Greulich-Smith chased and won one of those lost causes before finding his fellow striker, Wood, who sidestepped his marker and fired a fierce goalbound effort that West keeper Neal Atkinson tipped onto the post.

West spent the final moments pressing against the Shildon defence but were unable to create any clear cut chances. It would have been rough justice had they stolen the match but in the end, Shildon, who began the match fearing it may need to be abandoned, proved they have strength in depth. And while they will be satisfied to have survived the pre-match crisis, they will feel unfortunate not to have collected maximum points.