Robins continue to fly high in the league

Joe Elliott scores for North Shields in their game against Newton Aycliffe. Picture by Ian Warde.
Joe Elliott scores for North Shields in their game against Newton Aycliffe. Picture by Ian Warde.
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The Robins continue to fly high after a sixth successive league win, leaving them three points behind the leaders with as many games in hand.

It is an intriguing and tasty tussle developing at the top and Graham Fenton’s lads are relishing the moment.

This latest 3-0 verdict consolidated the Shieldsmen’s impressive home record which shows seven wins and a draw – on the opening day of the season – in eight outings and only two goals conceded with 19 plundered at the other end.

Joe Elliott returned to the starting line-up and soon made his mark whilst Marc Lancaster was transferred in time from Morpeth Town to take his place on the substitutes bench.

Visitors Newton Aycliffe are regrouping under ex-West Auckland boss Peter Dixon and enjoyed plenty of early possession but the Shields rearguard was once more resolute.

Up front Dean Holmes was a constant threat and instrumental in the 20th minute breakthrough with another teasing run up the flank and cross that saw Elliott power a thunderous header past a stunned keeper.

Shields by and large kept their discipline during a feisty spell which the visitors applied some pressure without any cutting edge.

The Tynesiders strove to double their advantage and a delicious ball from John Parker found Gareth Bainbridge who released Holmes but Aycliffe keeper James Winter blocked bravely then thwarted Denver Morris who had been released by a telling Kieran Wrightson pass.

As the second half unwound Stuart Banks forced a fine save from home custodian Chris Bannon whilst at the other end a Bainbridge screamer cleared the bar then more silky skills from Morris ended with a drive whistling just the wrong side of the upright.

The Robins deflated their opponents with two strikes inside three minutes, both smartly despatched by Bainbridge.

Firstly on the 72nd minute mark Holmes danced down the left wing to supply a sublime cross that the Shields centre forward joyously buried with aplomb then in a replica move coolly slotted in his 18th goal of the campaign.

North Shields: Bannon, Elliott, Grey (Lancaster 53), Richardson, Parker, Hughes, Luccock, Wrightson, Bainbridge (Walker 82), Morris (McKeown 67), Holmes. Subs (not used): Hook, Coppen.

Following a midweek League cup meeting with Newcastle Benfield, North Shields head to New Ferens Park on Saturday to take on Durham City (3pm).

This will be the Robins’ first appearance at the Belmont Ground though they have fond memories of the last three times they played at Durham’s old stadium.

The last Northern League clash was in 1983 resulting in a 2-1 scoreline with Ian Donaldson and Bobby Doig the Shields marksmen.

The following year Jim Pearson’s Shieldsmen won 3-1 in the FA Trophy as Micky Carroll, Paul Ross and Steve Atkinson struck then in 1985 the Robins triumphed 8-4 in an incredible Northern League cup semi-final with Peter Stronach (2), Ray Banks (2), Tommy Dixon, Chris Scott, Bede McCaffrey and Ian Mutrie the scorers.

Shields will be at home to title contenders Dunston UTS on Wednesday, November 19, (7.30pm) in a fixture rearranged because of FA Vase commitments.