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1st Team - Match centre

South Shields
Witton Albion
Full time
J Foley (48' Pen), B Smart (90' Sent Off)
Sat 18 Aug 15:00 - The Evo-Stik League - Premier Division Attendance 1,677

Albion edged out in Season's tasty opener


Fiery encounter sees debutant Smart dismissed

This very first league encounter proved to be a lively encounter throughout with Shields just edging the scoring but fortunate to not to have finished with less players on the field than Albion, who had Billy Smart dismissed in stoppage time.

The Witton newbie had been the main target for several illegal challenges, especially in the first half, however when he found himself in the top right corner of the pitch as Albion strived for a second equaliser he found himself once more involved with Carl Finnigan that saw referee Stephen Dial produce an instant red card.

The Mariners Park pitch looked truly resplendent as the game commenced and with five minutes on the clock came the first goal chance, River Humphreys’s under hit pass being pounced on by Josh Gillies who ended up sending his shot well to the left of target. Debutant keeper Greg Hall, in the 13th minute getting injured in the process, produced a stunning save denying Finnigan, from point blank range, after the striker had got a touch on an effort by Blair Adams.

Witton, although having plenty of possession, didn’t threaten the home goal until the 29th minute when a nice lay-off saw James Foley strike a low 20 yarder that went narrowly wide of the right upright. Hall again came to the rescue in the 36th minute going down well between feet to again deny Finnigan following Craig Baxter’s whipped in cross from the right.

Following a bit of nonsense five minutes before the break between Smart and Finnigan, after another foul had been committed, the free-kick was cleared upfield resulting in Adams hitting his 20 yard effort just over the crossbar. Albion had done a pretty good marking job but when Danny McKenna allowed home skipper Robert Briggs to get his cross in, Finnigan seized on the opportunity on the stroke of half-time.

Three minutes after the resumption it was back to all square, Will Jones slipping the ball through to Foley on the left of the area, keeper Liam Connell seeing the danger only succeeded in bringing Jay down conceding a soft penalty that James Foley managed to convert despite the keeper getting a hand to. Connell obviously angry with himself etc subsequently received a caution from Mr Dial. (Thanks to Vijay Anthwal for video)

The 52nd minute saw good approach work from Foley and James Yates put Tom Owens in but somehow he couldn’t celebrate his 100th appearance with a goal, totally unable to produce a clean shot the ball ballooning up for Connell to easily catch. Adams then came the second Shield player cautioned when fouling Smart. As the hour mark approached Josh Wardle saw the opportunity to strive upfield only to be blocked by Dillon Morse that brought another yellow from Mr Dial.

The match winning goal came in the 82nd minute in very similar circumstances although it was Yates this time with only a half-challenge that allowed Gillies time to pick out Finnigan to nod the ball home.

5 minutes from time Foley was rightly cautioned for fouling Ursene Mouanda but the manner of certainly a couple of Shields’s players when running some distance to barge themselves into what eventually became a 20 man scuffle beggared belief when neither were even cautioned, instead it was just Mouanda along with Jay.

When play was eventually restored it was to be Albion who finished stronger, Matty Devine and Rob Hopley linking to give Delial Brewster a shot on goal that was blocked by Adams. Cesaire Lingouba was then fouled on the edge of the box with Foley’s free-kick deflected for a corner. Hopley just failed to get a head on the flag-kick the ball ending up in the corner where Smart and Finnigan were.

Smart will now miss three games from next Saturday so all in all an opening day defeat but lots of positives to build on.

Many thanks to NICOLA BOGUE and VIJAY ANTHWAL for supplying the photographs from this game

Key moments

Scored Penalty James Foley scores a penalty for Witton Albion
Red Card Billy Smart is sent off for Witton Albion


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90:00 Red Card 0 - 1
Billy Smart is sent off for Witton Albion
86:00 Sub Off
Tom Owens is substituted off for Witton Albion
86:00 Sub On
Delial Brewster is substituted on for Witton Albion
85:00 Yellow Card
James Foley is yellow carded for Witton Albion
77:00 Sub Off
River Humphreys is substituted off for Witton Albion
77:00 Sub On
Michael Wilson is substituted on for Witton Albion
69:00 Sub Off
Danny McKenna is substituted off for Witton Albion
69:00 Sub On
Matty Devine is substituted on for Witton Albion
48:00 Scored Penalty 0 - 1
James Foley scores a penalty for Witton Albion
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • South Shields
  • Witton Albion
  • 0
  • James Foley Scored Penalty 48:00'
  • Danny McKenna Sub Off 69:00'
  • Matty Devine Sub On 69:00'
  • River Humphreys Sub Off 77:00'
  • Michael Wilson Sub On 77:00'
  • James Foley Yellow Card 85:00'
  • Tom Owens Sub Off 86:00'
  • Delial Brewster Sub On 86:00'
  • Billy Smart Red Card 90:00'

Team selection

Hall, Greg Hall, Greg
Yates, James Yates, James
Wardle, Josh Wardle, Josh
Foley, James Foley, James
Hopley, Rob Hopley, Rob
Humphreys , River Humphreys , River
Smart, Billy Smart, Billy
Lingouba, Cesaire Lingouba, Cesaire
Owens, Tom Owens, Tom
Jones, Will Jones, Will
McKenna, Danny McKenna, Danny

League round up

Other Premier Division results

Hednesford Town
Scarborough Athletic
Nantwich Town
Stalybridge Celtic
Mickleover Sports
Warrington Town
Whitby Town
Stafford Rangers


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
7. Buxton 35 56
8. Basford United 34 51
9. Witton Albion 33 50
10. Hyde United 35 49
11. Whitby Town 33 46
12. Matlock Town 33 45
13. Lancaster City 35 43

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