NORTH Shields FC took their unbeaten league run to 11 games with a 4-1 win over Morpeth.
This was the third meeting between these two sides at the Daren Persson Stadium at Ralph Gardner Park this campaign and one which saw the visitors notch their first goal.
After losing 3-0 in the Northumberland Senior Cup then suffering a 9-0 drubbing in the Ernest Armstrong Trophy, Morpeth re-grouped and when they pulled back to 2-1 in this encounter the alarm bells were sounding.
However, Shields stepped up a gear to pull through a sticky period to once more end up convincing victors.
A number of regulars found themselves either on the bench or on the sidelines as team bosses Anthony Woodhouse and Graham Fenton were keen to explore if their squad had strength in depth.
They certainly have, with Femi Akinbolu rested after his sterling efforts at Newton Aycliffe, skipper and top scorer Keith Douglas, midfield dynamo Paul Watson and talented defender Jonathan Hall all only introduced late on, whilst striker Andy Hay and the wily Robbie Livermore never got into the action.
Danny Patterson led the side out with Joe Elliott returning to the centre of defence following a five match absence though injury, Andy Bowman starting for the first time this term and new acquisition Chris Laws making his home debut.
It took the Robins only eight minutes to open their account with the hard working Phil Cartwright, happily restored in the middle of the park, clinically beating keeper Craig Pickering.
The over worked visiting custodian then did well to keep out Michael Pattison’s effort, a looping Steven Robinson header plus a rasping shot from James Luccock, following a mazy run.
Laws too went close but at the other end only a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Patterson denied the visitors an equaliser.
Shields earned some breathing space on the half hour with the prolific Bowman notching his sixth of the season, tapping in from close range, after Martin Graham had touched on a Mark Rasmussen corner.
Shields were shaken on 55 minutes when Michael Burn converted and suffered a nervy ten minute period.
Pickering turned aside a Pattison screamer before the ex-Seaham Red Star man deceived the keeper with a cross-cum-shot to make it 3-1. Laws scored the goal of the game with a belter with eight minutes remaining, his angled drive all but bursting the net and the fans went home happy.
North Shields: M Robinson, Graham, Patterson, Cartwright, Elliott (Hall 56), S Robinson, Luccock, Rasmussen, Laws, Bowman (Douglas 60), Pattison (Watson 71). Subs not used: Hay, Livermore.
Last weekend’s fixture with Northallerton Town was called off through a waterlogged pitch but Woodhouse’s men were hoping to return to action against Horden CW (Tuesday) before visiting Darlington RA on Saturday, 3pm then entertaining Washington on Tuesday, January 25, 7.30pm.