Albion Sports 3-3 South Shields
By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Match Photos are HEREDavid Brown pulled Albion Sports back from the brink of an FA Cup Preliminary Round exit with two goals as his side salvaged a replay with South Shields.
The Northern League Division Two side had led 2-0 at the break before former Scarborough Athletic striker Brown and Danny Facey levelled the tie within the opening 20 minutes of the second half.
Craig Watson then scored a 30-yard free kick for Shields with a quarter of an hour remaining and the visitors looked set to go through until Brown ensured that Albion will get another chance on Tuesday night in the North East.
Albion head coach Pav Singh said: “I think in the first period we didn’t play with any real urgency. We were against the wind which changed our games a bit. Balls were going in the air and we didn’t play well.
“Mistakes happen and we got back in the second half. We changed the way we play because of the wind and we were the better team and we probably should have won it.
“We had belief that we could get into it. Albion’s logo is the Lions and we never give up.
“The lads showed a lot of character in the second half to get it back.”
The away side were the better team in the first half as Albion struggled with the windy conditions at Throstle Nest. With regular goalkeeper Aaron Brian injured, Jan Zolna was Albion’s goalkeeper and the former Garforth Town and Wakefield stopper was needed to palm away Watson’s free kick.
But, Zolna could not prevent Paul Kane’s low drive just after the half hour mark. Shields then took just three minutes to add to their tally after calamitous defending from the home side. Elliott Holmes’ attempted clearance cannoned off the back of striker Brown and Steven Ramsey took control of the ball. The forward shot weakly at goal, but the ball went underneath Zolna and increased Shield’s lead.
Albion fought back with two goals in three minutes on the hour mark. A sweet half volley from distance from Brown reduced the deficit and then Facey’s low drive levelled the tie.
Albion enjoyed a spell in charge of the game, but couldn’t score and Shields took advantage of one of their few chances. Watson’s magnificent free kick floated into the top corner with Zolna unable to reach the strike.
That was Zolna’s last act as the injured goalkeeper was replaced by Iwan Heeley for the remainder of the game in which Albion quickly found an equaliser.
Shields were happy to take the draw, while Albion kept going for the winner. Brown had an effort blocked, but the home side were unable to score.
Tuesday night’s replay will decide who will visit either Hebburn Town or Marske United in the First Qualifying Round.
Albion Sports: Zolna (Heeley 83), Holmes, Hussain, David Brown, Stansfield, Danny Brown, Bleau (Maturine 77), Ormsby, Hall, Facey, Cusack (Flaherty 90). Subs unused: Williams, Stamer.
South Shields: Wells, Locke, Richardson, Clarke, White, Watson, Baxter, Smith, Ramsey (Kwalangon 68), Kane, Feasy. Subs unused: Danquah, Turnbull, Jackson, Pickering, Davidson, Haney.
Referee: C Grundy (Sheffield)
Man of the match: David Brown (Albion Sports)