North Shields debutant David Pounder could hardly have made a better initial impression at his new club as he netted a quality brace – yet he still ended up on the losing side.
Pounder, signed from Durham City, became the third Shieldsman in successive games to score on his first competitive appearance.
Jack Walker came on as a substitute at Bridlington Town and belted in a beauty, then young Jordan Summerly switched from full back into a forward position to show great composure to net his side’s third and clincher midweek at Penrith.
Shields were severely depleted in Cumbria and reliant on a free kick of distinction from Ben Richardson, who had to come off the bench and clinically despatch a penalty as the Tynesiders went on to triumph 3-1.
James Luccock, who had to lead the line and did so superbly, was another not able to take the field against First Division newcomers Washington despite being named on the bench.
Ruled out were the Northern League’s ace marksman Gareth Bainbridge, Denver Morris, skipper Kevin Hughes, midfielders Michael McKeown and Ryan Carr whilst effervescent full back, Jack Donnison, joined the treatment table after being carried off at Penrith.
On the plus side though Dean Holmes, out of action since Wembley, was able to be introduced late on and was able to make an impression.
John Parker led the side out, the first period largely controlled by the FA Vase holders, with keeper Chris Bannon untroubled though chances at any end were at a premium as defences dominated.
Both sided continued to weigh each other up, though Pounder was so close with a free kick that flew inches wide.
Six minutes before the break, Shields made the breakthrough as a Parker free-kick was helped on by Gary Day and Pounder produced a fine finish to clip the ball past Josh Carmichael.
Comfortable to the break, the Robins were rocked as Washington struck twice inside the opening three minutes of the second period.
The leveller was contentious, as referee Geoff Liddle somehow ignored an initial offence by the visitors John Butler, who then went down rather easily in the box but Mark Davison made no mistake from the spot.
Out of the blue, Matthew Fisher then unleashed a 20 yarder that gave the keeper no chance and the game had been turned on its head.
Shields responded strongly though with Curtis Coppen going close with a great effort, and they were rewarded on 56 minutes as John Grey galloped down the left flank and, when his cross was only partially cleared, Pounder was lurking again to produce a finish with panache.
At 2-2 it was all to play for, but on 68 minutes James Cassidy’s shot beat Bannon and the Mechanics held onto their advantage.
With Holmes prominent the hosts pressed sometimes frenetically but couldnt get back on terms, as Carmichael somehow saw a Day effort come back to Adam Forster, but the custodian blocked the follow up whilst he was relieved as he misjudged a Grey cross which only just failed to find the target.
Even centre half and coach Brian Smith came on to try to unsettle the visitors rearguard late on to no avail.