Diamonds went bravely out of the Buildbase FA Trophy 4-0 to an impressive South Shields side on Saturday afternoon.
The meeting between these well supported and well loved Step 3 sides who have made their way up the non-league pyramid in recent seasons had a one sided scoreline but Diamonds more than played their part. The away side started the brighter with their pressing forcing mistakes from a nervy home side but they couldn’t convert early half chances. Liam Dolman had a headed opportunity and there was a strong penalty claim that maybe came too early in the game for a kind decision for the away side.
Shields were a slick powerful passing side and they gradually got on top and spurned a number of clear chances including a 6 yard out open goal and penalty area rebound fired over. They finally got the goals their quality deserved on 25 and 30 minutes. Diamonds responded with a positive finish to the half and created some pressure but not the vital chances.
Diamonds were probably the better side second half and showed real resolve and created some good chances in a very good opening spell. Ben Acquaye forced a fumble from the home keeper but the ball somehow stayed out from the mêlée. Tom Lorraine then fired a great ball across the box where a sliding Nathan Hicks couldn’t quite connect and a couple of decisions against halted momentum.
Shields were always showing real quality on the break and one break was blocked by Alex Collard who had to leave the field after lengthy treatment. The vital period of the game came mid half as Diamonds mistakes were ruthlessly pounced on by fantastic passing and finishing by the home side. It was 3 on 66 minutes and despite a good spell for Diamonds it was 4 on 87.
The performance was definitely better than the Biggleswade game on a what was a big occasion for both sides. The quality of the home side that sees them top of the very tough Northern Premier League shone and this side could go a long way in this competition.
Match Summary: Paul Judd
***Full report from Ollie Mortimer to follow***