South Sheilds 0-0 Radcliffe FC
League Leaders Couldn't break down a spirited 10 man Boro
Radcliffe made the long journey up to the North East with a trip to league leaders South Shields. Boro on the back of a good run of form recently stretched their unbeaten run to five games with a huge performance to earn a point in front of 1,360 spectators at Mariners Park.
It was nearly a nightmare start for Radcliffe as the hosts hit the post inside 15 seconds, Juul rounded the keeper and found the post and then a shot by Finnigan was well blocked off the line by the defence. In the build up though Matty Russell went down for a number of minutes after a collision and both physio's had to come onto the pitch to help. A Broken nose was the result, a change of shirt and was back a few minutes later.
The hosts dominated the half with a flurry of chances, Finnigan chested the ball down after a lofted ball over the top and found his shot saved by Connor Keane in goal. He then found his shot blocked again by the Boro defence who were holding out a storm where it was looking like a case of when and not if the home side would score.
Radcliffe managed to get their first opportunity of the game as Captain Kingsley Williams hit one just over the bar after 27 mins from 20 yards out. The home side kept going though, pressing and probing but could not find a way past the defence or Connor Keane.
The Second Half began the same as the first with the home side camped inside the Boro half trying to create chances to score, their first chance of the half was when Julio Arca was played in on goal but his shot deflected just wide of the post. Another opportunity when Jamie Holmes found the ball in the centre of the box which was well saved by Connor Keane to deny the hosts.
But the moment of the match arrived on 70 mins, South Shields were awarded a rather soft penalty as Finnigan went down in the box. The Boro were furious with the referees decision which resulted in Callum Grogan receiving a red card, as well as Jordan Bove and Kingsley Williams apparently for the actual foul despite being a good 20 yards away from the incident.
After all the protests, it was time to take the penalty. Finnigan stepped up but Connor Keane went the correct way to his left and produced a fine save to keep a ten men boro in the match with twenty minutes to go for a unlikely point.
But South Shields continued to press and hammer the boro defence that was now a player short, a cross from the right found Briggs with a header which found the roof of the net. More and more chances were coming and Boro players were putting their bodies on the line for the cause. Blocking everything that was coming in. Clearing it doing anything they could to keep the ball away frustrating the home side who couldn't find the breakthrough hitting the woodwork, hitting it wide, finding a goalkeeper determined not to let anything in or a defender blocking putting themselves in front of the goal.
There were 3 Minutes of time added on, Radcliffe were holding on for the point and broke away in the 3rd added minute. James Hooper found himself with a chance at a shot at goal, but this was saved by keeper Connell twice as he couldn't get the rebound in.
Time was up and the Referee looked to have been about to blow for full time but let one final South Sheilds chance come in the 5th added minute. Julio Arca hit a drive from about 20 yards out high towards the goal which produced a fantastic save out of Connor Keane to deny what would have been a great goal to win the match, but denied by a great save.
Full Time finally arrived which seemed to have gone on forever, but a determined spirited Boro denied the league leaders 3 points in unlikely circumstances digging in and nearly struck gold by going down to ten men, saving a penalty and nearly winning at the end of the match.