Holmes strike enough as Robins progress in FA Cup

North Shields' Gareth Bainbridge breaks through against Pontefract Collieries in their FA Cup clash. Picture by Ian Warde.

North Shields' Gareth Bainbridge breaks through against Pontefract Collieries in their FA Cup clash. Picture by Ian Warde.

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Just days after producing the consummate performance at Guisborough, North Shields embarked on the FA Cup trail and progressed to the next round after a gritty encounter.

Man of the moment Dean Holmes bagged his fourth goal in three games to seal the Shieldsmen’s passage.

It was North Shields’ first victory in the FA Cup since 1991 when they saw off Consett by a 3-1 margin.

When last a First Division Northern League side in 1989 Shields enjoyed a three-match FA Cup epic with Bridlington Town, bowing out in the second replay, and it is to the Queensgate ground in Bridlington where the Robins will soon travel to take on Scarborough Athletic of the Evo-Stik First Division North.

Shields made one enforced change from the victorious XI that revelled at Guisborough with Kieren Wrightson replacing the unavailable James Luccock.

Pontefract had commenced their own season with a couple of decent results but rarely threatened to upset the Robins and appeared content to see if they could force a replay.

Some determined defending and inspired goalkeeping from Callum Nuttall thwarted the hosts who were guilty of some less than clinical finishing.

The decisive strike came after only 11 minutes when Holmes latched onto a defence splitting ball from Wrightson and, aided by a deflection, nestled sweetly in the back of the net.

It was the impressive Curtis Coppen who was agonisingly close to extending the home advantage right on the stroke of half time with a long-range effort that whistled wide.

Just as they left off Shields all but notched a second straight after the turnaround as Gareth Bainbridge forced Nuttall into a save at full stretch but although Holmes was quick to react to the loose ball, his follow-up flew wide of the mark.

As the clock ticked over Shields still held only their slender lead and Michael Robinson, donning the home gloves, had to be alert to dive at the feet of Liam Radford in a rare sortie upfield by the visitors.

Nuttall, meanwhile, was kept busy denying Bainbridge twice in the closing stages with fine saves before the Robins could finally celebrate and a trip to the Yorkshire seaside now beckons.

North Shields:- Robinson, Donnison, Grey, Coppen, Parker, Hughes (Elliott 63), Wrightson (Carr 69), Forster, Bainbridge, Richardson, Holmes (Walker 87). Subs (not used): Turner, Hook, Smart, Smith.

ENL

GUISBOROUGH TOWN 0 NORTH SHIELDS 3

The Robins were simply sensational at the home of a team that finished fourth in the First Division last time round.

It was a purposeful display from every player but special mention must go to Dean Holmes who tormented the Town defenders throughout.

Guisborough could not capitalise on early raids with Michael Robinson assured with his handling and the Tynesiders back line as solid as ever.

Bainbridge beat the offside trap but his shot flashed past the upright before Holmes coolly finished off a flowing intricate passing movement.

In the second half Holmes was the provider, crossing for the prolific Bainbridge to open his seasonal tally.

The icing on the cake and the sealing of the points came with another surging run and exquisite finish from Holmes.

On Saturday Shields are at Bedlington to take on a Terriers side containing former Robins keeper Sean McCafferty and Player of the Year James Harmison. Kick off is 3pm.

Newcastle Benfield visit the Daren Persson Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday (August 25) for an 11am kick off.