North Shields consolidate position at top of table

Joe Elliott nips in to win the ball for North Shields against Tow Law. Picture by Ian Warde.
Joe Elliott nips in to win the ball for North Shields against Tow Law. Picture by Ian Warde.
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Table toppers North Shields consolidated their position after a hard earned 2-0 win over an in- form Thornaby outfit then picked up a point at Tow Law’s notorious Ironworks Road ground where the Robins have a miniscule return over the years.

It was stalemate for 71 minutes at Ralph Gardner Park against Thornaby but the division’s top marksman Gareth Bainbridge bagged a late brace to keep the Shieldsmen on track.

At Tow Law three days later, Shields shaded the first period but on the turnaround, kicking down slope, they carved out but could not convert a succession of openings, thwarted by the heroics of home keeper Joe Longstaff.

As assistant boss Andy Bowman pointed out after the game: “Tow Law are always difficult opponents particularly on their own pitch and we just couldn’t produce much flowing football in the first period.

“Second half we created enough chances to win half a dozen matches but for once couldn’t find the net.

“More concerning was the number of injuries picked up particularly on Bainbridge, Forster and sub John Hook who himself had to come off.

“The lads at the back again looked solid and we kept another clean sheet with keeper Michael Robinson back from injury and to his best.

“Livewire front runner Dean Holmes is another lad on the sidelines at the moment, but we have always said that it’s a squad that earns promotion not just the 11 on the pitch.”

North Shields: M Robinson, Donnison, McKeown, Richardson, Parker, Hughes, P Robinson (Elliott 46), Forster (Hook 22) (Smith 53), Bainbridge, Smart, Wrightson. Subs not used: Bowman, Courtney.

North Shields, home to Willington midweek, host Alnwick Town at Ralph Gardner Park on Saturday (3pm).

It is a first league meeting between the sides this campaign but Graham Fenton’s men triumphed 3-1 at Alnwick’s St James Park back in November when Bainbridge (2) and Holmes were on target in a Northern League cup tie.

On Wednesday, March 19, the Robins entertain Jarrow Roofing in the semi-final of the Ernest Armstrong Trophy (7.30pm).