Redcar Athletic 0-3 Shildon
Shildon: Brad Hird (60’, 66’), Luke Spalding (81’)
Brad Hird’s debut double condemned a turbulent year on the Redcar seafront to a bitter end.
The former North Shields forward cruelly unravelled the Steelmen’s slim thread of hope, so giddily woven by Jack Norton’s stellar save from the spot.
Substitute Luke Spalding soon compounded Redcar’s misery, slotting home a well-taken third to mark a dismal end to 2023 at Green Lane.
Torrid weather conditions marred the festive Saturday afternoon, as driving winds and sporadic showers made life as hard for the players as it did those on the terraces.
Shildon proved the better adapted to the adversity, twice testing Jack Norton in the opening seconds through Max Allen.
The early exchanges were not so harsh on Redcar Athletic either, who seemed fairly on par with their title-challenging counterparts.
A slick through ball from Layton Watts fashioned the clearest opportunity, to which Mark Foden narrowly bested an agile Donny Holdsworth.
The Railwaymen soon proved closer still to breaking the deadlock, as Alexander White rattled the crossbar with a plush header.
A feeble block on Leighton Harris’s ranged effort gave Jack Norton license to build a threatening breakaway, his efforts futile as Holdsworth’s deft lob itself struck the woodwork.
The forward was soon free to run in behind once more as the half loomed, only to be hauled to ground unpunished by the last defender, despite the best efforts of the linesman’s raised flag.
In stark contrast, Leighton Harris was felled inside the area by Jack Norton, and the officials deemed the challenge worthy of a spot kick.
The shot-stopper quickly redeemed the lapse in judgement, sprawling to his right to tip Andrei Ardelean’s low attempt safely past the post.
Where Redcar had prospered in the first half, the pressure of the vehement gusts reduced their offensive prowess to a blunt edge, and Shildon amassed a much greater control.
Brad Hird slotted home the opener dead on the hour mark, picking out the bottom corner with a neat effort across goal.
A poor back-pass from Joe Thompson gifted the former Shields man his brace, as he outfoxed Jack Norton to apply an uncontested finish.
Luke Spalding fixed the final nail in Redcar’s coffin, driving home a third off the bench to see the Steelmen truly dead and buried on a thoroughly miserable afternoon.
Line-Up: Norton, McNeill, Thompson, Ferguson (Dixon 79’), Guru, Hall, Watts, Boyle (Mills 58’), Jarvie, Holdsworth (Walker 58’), Ritson
Next Match: Boro Rangers (a) | Tuesday 26th December 2023 (11:00am)
|Northern Football League - Division 1