North Shields put nine past Washington

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Having rattled in ten goals just ten days earlier against Whitehaven, North Shields came within a whisker of repeating the feat at the Nissan Complex against Washington on Saturday.

The hosts were overwhelmed by a rampant Robins, who led 4-0 at the break, largely due to Gareth Bainbridge’s hat-trick.

Then his second half replacement Keith Douglas struck four times in 28 minutes before Dan Smart completed the rout.

Whereas the record books had to stretch back to 1965 for the last time the Shieldsmen reached double figures in a Northern League fixtures – Bainbridge’s five against the Cumbrians matching the nap hand of the prolific Don Winskill – the Tynesides twice racked up nine strikes in the 2010-11 season.

Morpeth were vanquished 9-0 in a Northern League cup tie and Washington 9-1, with Douglas recording hat-tricks in both games as he went on to clock up 40 goals in that campaign.

Graham Fenton had named a full strength team for his side’s fourth league outing, and their impressive opening has now seen 20 goals bulge their opponents net whilst keeper Michael Robinson has yet to be beaten.

Bainbridge was on target inside two minutes, firmly nodding in a Phil Robinson free kick.

The advantage was doubled on the quarter hour mark when Joe Elliott drove the ball into the area and, though, skipper Kevin Hughes was lurking, it was Washington’s centre half Lee Ellison whose name appeared on the scoresheet.

Ryan Carr fed Bainbridge with 24 minutes on the clock and the Robins hot-shot made no mistake, and before the turnaround he unleashed an absolute beauty to delight the travelling supporters.

Into the second period and Adam Forster embarked on a mazy run into the box only to be curtailed when he was upended and Douglas duly obliged with the spot kick.

Douglas coolly converted on 66 minutes to make it 6-0, then displayed his predatory talents again after Smart set up the opening and Shields were in seventh heaven.

Smart was again the provider and Douglas the clinical finisher ten minutes from time before Smart cut in to plant a rasping drive past the beleaguered keeper for the ninth.

In the closing seconds Smart appeared to be brought down in the box but appeals were dismissed and Shields had to settle for nine.

North Shields: M Robinson, Elliott, Grey, Richardson, Parker, Hughes, P Robinson (Wrightson 53 mins), Forster, Bainbridge (Douglas 46 mins), Smart, Carr (Donnison 65 mins). Subs not used: Scopre, Wright.

In midweek, Shields and surprise early league leaders Birtley Town played out a goalless draw at the Daren Persson Stadium.

The visitors, unrecognisable from last season and now featuring almost exclusively young players from Gateshead College, figured in an entertaining tussle and should have led right on half-time but Callum Hope miscued with the goal at his mercy.

The Robins, and in particular Dan Smart, were unlucky when an effort hit both posts and, as Shields pushed for a winner, substitute Stewart Wright proved a handful for the visitors to contain, but the deadlock was unable to be broken.

Graham Fenton and Andy Bowman take their squad to Thornaby on Saturday (3pm) then to Ryton and Crawcrook Albion on Wednesday, September 4 (7.30pm).

The Robins have been drawn away to Morpeth Town in the first round of the Northumberland Senior Cup.