North Shields pass 100 goals for the season with 8-0 win

Dan Smart gets a shot away for North Shields. Picture by Ian Warde.
Dan Smart gets a shot away for North Shields. Picture by Ian Warde.
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The Robins are absolutely flying at the moment as they chalked up a 12th consecutive league victory and at the same time passed the 100 goal mark.

Dean Walker looked to be the man who took Graham Fenton’s lads to three figures when he poked in his side’s fourth but an assistant’s raised flag put paid to that and it was hot-shot striker Gareth Bainbridge who took the honour just four minutes later.

Eight-nill was a scoreline nobody expected as Washington were second in the form table going into the match and their re-vamped side included the prolific Chris Winn and Mark Davison up front.

However Tom Courtney between the Shields posts was not be to beaten as the Robins kept yet another clean sheet whilst rattling in the goals at the other end to delight their delirious fans.

Adam Forster, Stuart Donnison and Adam Scope were all absentees for this clash but the Shieldsmen enjoyed a dream start as Michael McKeown’s precise through ball released Bainbridge to coolly slot home.

The newcomers responded winning a succession of corners, Davison denied by a goal-line clearance and Winn rifling over the angle.

Shields, too, had chances with McKeown and Dan Smart only inches away but it was the visitors who threatened a leveller and Courtney excelled in keeping out efforts from Paul Kane and Davison whilst only a superb last-ditch tackle by John Grey retained the home advantage.

On 40 minutes though Joe Elliott won a decisive challenge in the middle of the park, Bainbridge and Holmes interchanged passes, before the Shields number two advanced into the area to shoot home with aplomb, his fourth goal of the campaign.

Right on half-time Bainbridge sprayed the ball out to Holmes who displayed dazzling skill and pace to make it 3-0.

One minute into the second period and Grey’s cross from the left was tucked in by Smart at the far post then Dean Holmes, who was running the Washington defence ragged, was upended in the box and Bainbridge put away the resultant spot kick.

After Walker’s celebrations were curtailed a slick turn and shot on the hour by Bainbridge made it six and that century of league goals.

Another dazzling run up the left lank saw visiting defender Richard Paxton turn Holmes’ centre past his own keeper, Washington’s hopes of even a consolation evaporated as substitute David Southern steered wide of a gaping net, and they conceded an eighth in the closing stages following a sublime finish from man of the match Holmes.

North Shields: Courtney, Elliott, Grey, Richardson, Parker, Hughes (Smith 66), Walker (Robinson 59), McKeown, Bainbridge, Smart (Hook 66), Holmes. Subs not used: Goienetxea, Ball.

North Shields, at Brandon midweek for a Northern League Cup tie, have a free Saturday before travelling to Alnwick Town on Tuesday, January 28, 7.30pm kick-off.

Graham Fenton’s side will travel to Darlington RA in the quarter-final of the Ernest Armstrong Trophy on Tuesday, February 11.