NORTH Shields went nap to march on in the Northumberland Senior Cup with Keith Douglas in awesome form, bagging four of the goals in a 5-3 win at Alnwick Town.
Douglas had struck twice before the Shieldsmen found themselves with only ten men and pegged back by the hour mark, but the side’s character shone through and they eventually romped home in a tie played at a frenetic pace.
A meticulous free kick from Douglas after just four minutes set the scene and, after taking the corner from which Jonanthan Hall’s header was scrambled off the line, Douglas sweetly nodded in a Dan Patterson cross to make it 2-0 with 14 minutes on the clock.
For the hosts, Wyn Fremlyn was off target following a fine run then forced Sean McCafferty, again deputusing for the injured Michael Robinson, into a smart save whilst, at the other end, Douglas was only inches away from a hat-trick inside 25 minutes with a header flashing past the post.
Shields lost John Hook for a challenge after 32 minutes but the ten men looked comfortable and Andy Hay was thwarted by Blocks from home custodian Brian Brooks either side of the half-time whistle.
The Robins, though, were rocked as Tom Vickers and Dan Thompson brought the hosts level with two goals inside four minutes.
Alnwick’s fire was quickly extinguished, however, as Shields immediately restored their advantage with Dean Holmes coolly converting from the spot after Patterson had been upended.
There was to be no stopping Douglas and another exquisite 30-yard free kick then a sublime 25-yard curler left the hosts totally deflated, though they did notch a consolation with the last kick of the game through Tom McPherson.
Shields boss Graham Fenton was upset at the sending off of Hook, deeming it extremely harsh, but was pleased with his team’s showing.
“We could have crumbled following the dismissal then again when Alnwick got back into it, but the lads kept their shape and got their reward at the end,” he said.
North Shields: McCafferty, Hall, Patterson, Hook, Elliott, Akinbolu, Rowntree (Richardson 72), Forster, Hay (Wright 61), Douglas, Holmes (Nolan 84). Subs (not used): Harmison, Robinson.
North Shields and Alnwick meet again on Saturday, this time at the Daren Persson Stadium with league points at stake. Kick-off is 3pm.
Paul Watson, James Harmison, Rob Nolan and Michael Robinson are struggling with injuries.