The Non-League Football Paper - - NPL PREMIER - By Ian Richard­son

SOUTH Shields stayed top of the ta­ble af­ter se­cur­ing their fifth win on the spin.

By con­trast, it was strug­gling’s Mat­lock’s fifth loss in a row.

Mat­lock, un­der the new man­age­ment of Dave Freck­ling­ton, brought in four debu­tants and for the open­ing 39 min­utes were well in con­tention but then the vis­i­tors at­tacked down the left and home goal­keeper Richard Wal­ton could not hold David Fo­ley’s shot, leav­ing Gavin Cog­don to slot in the loose ball from close range.

Three min­utes later, Shields dou­bled the lead when Josh Gil­lies was left un­marked from a lofted pass to slide the ball home be­yond the un­pro­tected Wal­ton.

Fo­ley made it three 11 min­utes into the sec­ond half, pick­ing up the pieces af­ter a pres­surised Wal­ton failed to grasp a dif­fi­cult low cen­tre from the left. Mat­lock at least looked more or­gan­ised than of late, but judge­ment on their per­for­mance needs to be re­served for the time be­ing. Sadly, apart from a fierce strike by debu­tant Tom Davie which flashed wide Shields were un­trou­bled.

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