Pre-season preparation and results could hardly have gone any better for Graham Fenton’s Robins as they negotiated seven friendlies, winning five, to remain unbeaten.
With the Northern League campaign looming – Jarrow Roofing are first up at the Daren Persson Stadium at Ralph Gardner Park on Saturday (3pm) – The Shieldsmen followed up a 5-0 verdict over Prudhoe Town with a 3-1 victory at Northern Counties East side Hemsworth, bouncing back from an interval deficit to travel home in good spirits.
First half against Wearside Leaguers Prudhoe was evenly contested with only an Adam Scope effort separating the teams.
The final 18 minutes though saw the Robins produce some clinical finishing with Gareth Bainbridge bagging another brace and Ryan Carr ending a couple of flowing movements sublimely.
Hemsworth closed last season with a 13th place position in a 22 club competition and, although under the cosh for most of the opening half, grabbed an unexpected 20th minute advantage as centre back John Parker unfortunately sliced an attempted clearance into his own net.
The Yorkshire outfit proved determined opponents and, despite the dominance enjoyed by the Tynesiders, chances were at a premium in the first 45 minutes.
Bainbridge levelled ten minutes into the second period with another predatory strike after the host custodian faltered and from then on there was to be only one winner.
Spurred on by the equaliser the Hemsworth keeper partly atoned by blocking from Dan Smart then watching John Grey’s scorcher only just clear the bar.
Following a short corner on the 72 minute mark Ryan Carr drilled the ball home then Kieran Wrightson curled in a beauty to settle the outcome.
So the Robins wound up with victories over Blyth Spartans, Team Northumbria, Beith, Prudhoe and Hemsworth with creditable draws against Newcastle Benfield and Durham City.
North Shields: M Robinson, Elliott, Grey, Richardson, Hughes, Parker, Forster, Wrightson, Bainbridge, Smart, Carr. Second half subs: Douglas, Wright, Donnison, trialist, trialist.
Gareth Bainbridge who has netted 11 times in those seven games will be hoping to add to his tally when Jarrow Roofing visit this weekend then Cumbrians Whitehaven follow on Wednesday, August 14 (7.30pm).
On Saturday, August 17 North Shields embark on the FA Cup trail when they take on Albion Sports who ground share at the AFC Farsley Ground in Leeds (3pm).
The Shieldsmen travel again in the FA Vase when North West Counties side Silsden are the hosts on Saturday, September 21.