Advantage South Shields in Northern League title race – despite falling nine points behind

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South Shields’ bid for the Ebac Northern League Division One title was given a big boost last night – as leaders North Shields were held to a 1-1 draw at West Allotment Celtic.

The Mariners trail North Shields by nine points but now have four games in hand.

Victory over Bishop Auckland today and Consett on Tuesday will cut the gap to three points ahead of next Saturday’s vital showdown at North Shields.

North Shields took the lead on 18 minutes last night, when Dean Holmes scored after latching onto a through ball and firing home.

In the second half, Dan Wilson hit the post after 47 minutes for the visitors and shortly after Curtis Coppen headed wide from a corner, as the Robins pressed hard for a second goal.

They also had an effort disallowed for offside.

However, on 61 minutes, the home side equalised, when John Pendlebury got the last touch on an off-target Michael Hall effort, levelling it up at 1-1.

North Shields threw on Gareth Bainbridge, Ryan Carr and Bobby Taylor in a bid to snatch a precious winner in the closing stages, but Celtic held out for their point. They remain seven points adrift of safety in second-bottom spot.