All about the performance for Fenton

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THE Robins got the ball rolling on their pre-season games with a visit to last season’s second division champions of the Northern League Team Northumbria.

On their last trip to the Coach Lane complex, North Shields took the points with a Paul Dunn header on his debut.

This time it was not quite as advertised with the Team Northumbria main surface declared unavailable, seemingly because the Colombia national team were due to train on it, so a quick change to an adjacent artificial pitch was called for and the timings split into three segments, each a half hour duration.

Nonetheless, it was still an engaging spectacle, with Shields impressing early on and shading the first third.

Team boss Graham Fenton was pleased with the afternoon session.

“It was an excellent work-out,” he said. “At this stage the scoreline wasn’t important, it was just a case of the lads getting a first run out.

“I was delighted with the way we went about it, quick to settle and spraying the ball about well, particularly in the opening period.

“We could well have led when Adam Forster unleashed a beauty that was destined for the top corner but he was denied by a stunning save from their keeper.

“Obviously we made changes as the game wore on and let in two sloppy goals in quick succession, both netted by Lee Scott.

“But we came back strongly again late on and had chances to get back into it.”

North Shields started with six of last season’s established performers – keeper Michael Robinson, Danny Patterson, Forster and Paul Watson in the middle of the park, and joint golden boot winners Dean Holmes and Keith Douglas up front.

The side was: Robinson, Jonny Hook, Patterson, Steven Swinyard, Joe Elliott, Forster, Phillip Robinson, Watson, Stewart Wright, Douglas, Holmes, with substitutes Femi Akinbolu, Adam Rowntree, Phil McCoy, Michael Watson, Andy Bowman.

Only Michael Robinson, Danny Patterson and Joe Elliott played the full 90 minutes.

North Shields are at Gala Fairydean on Saturday (2pm), before entertaining Heaton Stannington on Wednesday, July 25, (7.30pm).

Fenton and Andy Bowman continue to look to add to their squad and ex-Nottingham Forest and Swindon Town player Bobby Howe is set to sign.

North Shields will hold their AGM in the clubhouse on Tuesday, July 31 (7.30pm).