IT is now ten games unbeaten for North Shields FC in Northern League division two matches after a second win at Brandon that resulted in a victory more convincing than the scoreline suggests to leave Anthony Woodhouse a hugely contented manager.
Shields had travelled back from the Welfare Ground with a 2-1 League Cup success under their belts only two days earlier, but on Saturday the hosts’ consolation came in the very last minute.
Andy Hay and Danny Patterson were both unavailable and notable absentees from this latest clash, but making his second appearance was midfielder Gareth McAlindon whilst Paul Dunn, skipper on Thursday night, was nursing a knock but still came on as a second half substitute.
Brandon were first to threaten and centre-forward Mark Brischuk flashed a shot past the post before the Shieldsmen grabbed a ninth minute opener with James Luccock latching onto a through ball to deliver a crisp finish past home keeper Andrew Wilkinson.
Shields, searching for a second, were desperately close as Luccock’s teasing cross was met by Dean Holmes, whose tantalising header sailed inches over the crossbar.
Brandon keeper Wilkinson then took centre stage, making a succession of quality stops to keep the Robins at bay.
A great through ball from Kevin Hughes released Luccock, whose measured ball into the path of Keith Douglas saw the custodian keep out a header that looked destined for the back of the net.
When Mark Rasmussen and Holmes then combined, Wilkinson tipped over from Douglas then the Shields hot-shot was again denied from the resultant corner.
A Holmes effort was deflected past the upright but Shields were unable to extend their advantage at the end of a first period where the hosts never tested Shields keeper Michael Robinson.
The strength of the wind was proving difficult to master for both sets of players as a largely uneventful period of play developed as the second half unwound.
By the 69th minute Woodhouse had introduced all his three substitutes with Dunn, Paul Gordon and Craig Deighton all thrust into action.
Shields won a number of flag kicks, all taken by Luccock, one of which was within a whisker of being turned in by James Harmison at the far post before all three points were just about secured in the 79th minute.
Then Holmes, sent racing clear by Paul Watson’s pass blasted in another beauty, giving Wilkinson no chance.
With man of the match Watson dominating in the middle of the park and Dunn tackling with conviction the visitors almost struck again with Deighton thwarted by Wilkinson and looked totally in command.
However Brischuk’s late header set up a nervy couple of minutes in stoppage time but, thankfully for the Robins, there were to be no further alarms.
North Shields: Robinson, Hughes, Grey, McAlindon (Dunn 57 mins), Bowlt, Harmison, Rasmussen (Gordon 57 mins), Watson, Holmes, Douglas (Deighton 69 mins), Luccock. Subs not used: Bowman, Iredale.