One goal enough as Robins maintain lofty league position

Dean Holmes scores for North Shields in their game against Celtic Nation. Picture by Ian Warde.

Dean Holmes scores for North Shields in their game against Celtic Nation. Picture by Ian Warde.

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A fifth straight win for the Robins maintained their lofty position in the league table.

Graham Fentson’s lads remain unbeaten at home, winning all but their opening encounter, and another clean sheet made it eight so far.

Celtic Nation, last season’s First Division runners-up, travelled from Cumbria with more modest expectations this time round and displayed their intentions to settle for a point right from the off.

Though well organised at the back they were content to frustrate the hosts and, until the closing stages, never tested North Shields’ custodian Chris Bannon.

It was one-way traffic throughout and in the first period only the woodwork twice and an assistant’s flag thwarted the Shieldsmen.

The Robins were unchanged for the third successive match and were soon into their stride penning the Carlisle outfit back.

Ben Richardson saw a free kick cannon off the post on the 10 minute mark then Dean Holmes set off on a mazy run only to be denied by the other upright.

With skipper Joe Elliott surging forward at every opportunity the visitors were hanging on with keeper Andrew Casson blocking from Dean Walker who then glanced a header just wide whilst a James Luccock goalbound drive took a deflection on its way behind.

Casson then tipped over a Kieran Wrightson special over the top who supplied a cross from which Denver Morris headed home only for the celebrations to be curtailed by an offside call.

The second half continued in the same vein with Casson bravely blocking from Morris before Dean Holmes took aim to thunder the ball home for the breakthrough and decisive strike on 66 minutes.

Shields introduced substitute Michael McKeown whose very first touch all but set up Morris then Luccock was close to converting a Holmes cross.

Shields were content just to retain possession late on with the visitors reluctant to push forward and restricted to long range efforts high and wide.

Gareth Bainbridge was given a five minute run-out, the visitors managing a stoppage time corner that prompted a goalmouth melee before the Shieldsmen trooped off with another three points under their belts.

North Shields: Bannon, Elliott, Grey, Richardson, Parker, Coppen, Luccock, Wrightson, Morris (Bainbridge 85), Walker (McKeown 68), holmes. Subs (not used): Hughes, Hook, Taylor.