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Bishop’s Stortford suffer heaviest defeat in over seven years as they lose 7-0 at South Shields in National League North

Bishop’s Stortford suffered their heaviest defeat in over seven years as they went down 7-0 at South Shields in Vanarama National League North on Saturday (April 6).

It was the relegated Blues’ biggest loss since an 8-0 drubbing at Ebbsfleet United in March 2017 and came after they had beaten Banbury United last time out to end a run of 18 straight league defeats.

Paul Blackett, who is the division’s leading scorer, hit a hat-trick and also had a penalty saved as the play-off hopefuls moved up to fifth.

The Mariners took an eighth-minute lead when Robert Briggs stabbed the ball home from a corner.

And they doubled their advantage just five minutes later when Dylan Stephenson dribbled round Stortford goalkeeper and captain Jack Giddens and slotted into an empty net after youngster Aiden Harvey had been caught in possession.

Blackett got his first goal of the afternoon in the 20th minute by getting in between defenders to latch onto a pass and find the bottom corner.

Harvey, who was substituted after 24 minutes, brilliantly blocked Stephenson’s downward header, Michael Woods missed the target from 10 yards and skipper Blair Adams had an effort ruled out for offside as the hosts attempted to add to their tally.

Before the break, Blackett was denied by Giddens from the spot after Harry Beadle had upended the striker inside the area.

Blackett continued to be a threat after the interval and forced Giddens into a smart low save with a shot from a tight angle.

He did get his second goal midway through the second period when substitute Jed Abbey put the ball on a plate for him to tap in.

And Blackett completed his treble six minutes later when he was left unmarked to head in a right-wing cross.

Aaron Martin came off the bench to notch from close range before Stephenson completed the rout by putting the ball into an empty net after Giddens had misread the flight of the ball and it had bounced over his head.

The Blues are away to fifth-from-bottom Rushall Olympic tomorrow night (Tuesday April 9) before also travelling to 14th-placed Buxton on Saturday (April 13).

South Shields: Boney, Adams, Smith (booked 60), Heaney (Savage 46, Abbey 65), Briggs, Blackett (Martin 75), Woods, Hunter, Jenkins, Broadbent, Stephenson. Not used: Clarke, Sloan.

Blues: Giddens, Kassarate (Lusardi 75), Robbins, Beadle, McGregor, Crichlow, Cosgrave, Foxley, Thomas (booked 85), Charles (Greene 64, booked 80), Harvey (Alexander 24). Not used: Oke, Messaoudin.

Attendance: 1,912.

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