A most competitive and thoroughly entertaining game in brilliant summer weather today, between two well matched sides. Shields were excellent value and gave a very good account of themselves, in particular displaying a well marshalled defence, with new ex Blyth Spartans keeper Robert Birdsall making his debut and in defence also Glenn Ford, ex West Allotment Celtic, both of whom made most creditable performances. It was a fast moving game, with Celtic having numerous ex FL players on show, particularly Alec Boyd ex Pools. He and co. were well contained by an impressive Shields rearguard and the difference between the sides at the final result was as a direct result of a lost ball in midfield, from which Celtic got their lead. Shields were unlucky to see a powerful header by Pickering strike the crossbar on 25 and come out, only to go behind on 35 in unfortunate circumstances. Shields played in a 4:5:1 formation with Peter Kane as the 'Lone Ranger' upfront, and but for unavailability of either Ramsey or Sweeney ( injured ), Wightman ( cricket commitments ) or Burnell ( holiday ), and Coe ( suspended ) as a double strike force would have produced a different result. Shields were the better side for periods, and as the game drew to a close with Celtic visably tiring, they went close to levelling on several occasions. A fine drilled shot by the impressive Feasey just evaded the outstretched boot of Kane, which would have been a well deserved equaliser. However a game with many positives for Shields, with a fine goalkeeper, vocal and commanding and grand work by Chapim, Feasey and the tireless Kane. So in spite of the result, a much improved defencive display by Shields, with Bell outstanding which bodes well. Given the return of the 'missing' men, Shields supporters can be confident of good displays, and a most encouraging show today in spite of the narrow defeat.
1. Robert Birdsall. 2. Barrie Smith. 3. Ricky Fenwick. 4 Glenn Ford. 5. Lee Bell. 6. Gilberto Chapim. 7. Chris Scott. 8. Andrew Barclay ( capt ) 9 Peter Kane. 10. Chris Feasey. 11 James Pickering. Subs. 14 Tim Edwards.
15. Ritchie Cunningham. 16. Dan Wilson. Subs used 12 for 3 (87) 16 for 11 (78). MOM Chapim.