Robins overcome plucky Emley to progress in FA Vase

Gareth Bainbridge scores for North Shields in their game against AFC Emley. Picture by Ian Warde.
Gareth Bainbridge scores for North Shields in their game against AFC Emley. Picture by Ian Warde.

The FA Vase proved a welcome distraction from racking up Northern League points for Graham Fenton’s men and the Robins duly clocked up their third win in this season’s competition.

Shields had seen off Northallerton (1-0) then Stokesley (4-2) and it was by the same scoreline that they progressed to the next stage against plucky Yorkshire visitors AFC Emley.

The Robins’ reward is a trip to fellow Northern Leaguers Sunderland RCA, a side they defeated 3-0 at the Daren Persson Stadium just last month – the tie to be played on November 22.

AFC Emley showed just why they top the Northern Counties East First Division and played their part in a cracking and pulsating match as fortunes fluctuated.

The Robins twice led only to be pegged back before two quick strikes finally shook off the valiant visitors.

Once more, Fenton had to contend with a bulk of his squad sidelined as Joe Elliott, Adam Forster, Stuart Donnison, Michael McKeown, Dean Walker and Peter Glen-Ravenhill could only look on.

Skipper and central defender Kevin Hughes, though, was able to return while the prolific Gareth Bainbridge was declared fit to lead the line once more.

The visitors posed the first threat and a powerful header from centre-half Sam Jerome was brilliantly kept out by Chris Bannon.

Eight minutes into the game the Shieldsmen surged ahead as Denver Morris weaved into the Emley box, rounded keeper Adam Lawlor before squaring to Dean Holmes, who gleefully slotted home.

On the quarter-hour mark, it was all-square, with Jordan Townsend finishing off a rapid break with a crisp finish, giving Bannon no chance.

Holmes was denied a clear run on goal by an offside flag that courted controversy long after the final whistle but the Yorkshiremen were giving as good as they got and Michael Tunnicliffe clipped the home crossbar.

On the turnaround the Robins team talk paid dividends as Bainbridge profited from a defensive lapse to rifle a beauty past Lawlor.

It was 2-2 on 65 minutes after Bannon touched behind from Townsend, the resultant corner saw Jerome’s header blocked but in the melee he pounced to poke the ball goalwards where an assistant adjudged it had crossed the line.

Two more goals for the Shieldsmen inside three minutes sealed the Tynesiders progress with a sublime finish from James Luccock then Bainbridge making it 16 for the season so far, slotting home after Holmes set up the chance.

There was still time for Holmes to be thwarted by a goalline clearance and for Emley to keep plugging away in an attempt to reduce the deficit.

Shields assistant boss Andy Bowman said afterwards: “In the first half we weren’t at our best and lacked sharpness in our passing and movement.

“After the break we were more solid as a unit and some great approach play and finishing saw us win well.”

North Shields: Bannon, Wrightson, Grey, Coppen, Parker, Hughes, Luccock, Richardson, Bainbridge, Morris (Taylor 80), Holmes. Subs (not used): Smith, Hook, Carr, Bowman.

On Saturday, North Shields host Newton Aycliffe, kick off 3pm.