SHILDON AFC returned to form with a convincing weekend Northern League win against Penrith at Dean Street.
Victory was sealed before the match reached its halfway point with Shildon finding the net twice and Penrith losing a player to a straight red card just before the break.
Adam Burnicle rediscovered his scoring boots to notch a double before Penrith’s Adam Main saw red with a dangerously high challenge on Matty Robson shortly after Burnicle’s second.
If there was any doubt that the sending off secured the points for Shildon, they were extinguished within four minutes of the restart when Burnicle was denied a hat trick only by an own goal.
A goal on the hour mark by Connor Shields reduced the visitors’ deficit but proved no more than a consolation as Shildon saw out the remaining time to seal the three points.
Shildon could have been forgiven had they adopted a more pessimistic approach after some demoralising recent results, but instead continued to work industriously and will feel that for once they were rewarded for their positive mindset.
The law of averages was surely on their side given the number of opportunities they create with scant reward, although they may have felt a sensation of deja vu when Adam Burnicle’s effort in the fourth minute was cleared off the line.
The home side’s thoughts drifted to a midweek Durham Challenge Cup semi final against Consett.
However, the striker made no mistake in the eighth minute when a long free kick from Shildon goalkeeper, Kieran Proctor was nodded into his path by Billy Greulich-Smith, sidefooting past the helpless Stuart Dixon in the visiting goal.
Shildon continued to dominate the game with Greulich-Smith going close on a couple of occasions; one effort saved before a trademark towering header from Robson’s corner was bulleted just over the bar.
A strong claim for a penalty as the ball richoceted in the box was waved away before Burnicle profited again from another direct ball, this time misjudged by the Penrith defence, leaving the forward the simple task of beating the keeper before walking the ball over the line.
Then came Main’s rash challenge which left his player manager Kyle May, on his return to the club he left to sign as Penrith gaffer, shaking his head in bemusement.
The league strugglers, just one spot above the relegation places, can ill afford such indiscipline and made Shildon’s task all the more comfortable in the second period.
Durham Challenge Cup
The ten men were permitted more of the ball by the Railwaymen in the second half as the home side’s thoughts drifted to a midweek Durham Challenge Cup semi final against Consett.
That game had to be postponed as the Beast from the East raged across the eastern UK and is now scheduled for Tuesday 8th March.
As they bid for a third Durham Challenge Cup final in five seasons, Shildon will hope they can catch Consett, who have been heavily beaten in two of their last three matches, as cold as the snow of the past few days.