Robins unable to find way past Red Star blockade

NORTH Shields laid siege to the Seaham goal in Saturday’s Northern League game but, despite some fine approach play, they could not find the net and had to travel home pointless.

The 1-0 defeat was hard to take for Robins team boss Graham Fenton.

He said: “On the positive side we created plenty of chances, enough to win at least three games ­– it’s hard to believe we’ve ended up with nothing.”

The Shieldsmen’s spirits had been raised following a 4-2 midweek victory at Washington’s Nissan Ground where they were three goals to the good in under half an hour.

The Robins welcomed a first appearance of the campaign for last season’s players’ player of the year Kevin Hughes, whilst Ben Richardson turned out against his former club.

Washington included five players in their starting line-up who have worn Robins colours – Ross Atkinson, Nicky Evans, Ben Miley, Matthew Wade and Robert Nolan, the latter completing a move back to North Shields after the game.

Stewart Wright, Jon Hall and a Keith Douglas penalty awarded after John Hook had been upended put the Shieldsmen firmly in the driving seat.

Nolan twice went close to pulling a goal back for the hosts, initially denied by a block on the line by Hughes then a smart save from Michael Robinson.

John Wears did reduce the deficit on 62 minutes before Adam Forster started and finished a move to restore the three-goal cushion.

A late conversion from Dan Young could not take the gloss off a fine Shields performance.

On Saturday at Seaham, the Robins lost to Red Star for the first time in eight meetings.

The lengthy injury list continued to affect Fenton’s selection whilst a couple of enforced changes had to be made.

Douglas was off target with an early opportunity and inspired home keeper Shaun Newbrook saved superbly from Wright and Forster, though only the combined efforts of Robinson then Joe Elliott saved the Tynesiders as Seaham looked destined to break the deadlock.

One minute after the turnaround Shields were caught cold and home centre forward Kevin Gordon found himself unmarked before unleashing a crisp drive that gave Robinson no chance whatsoever.

That proved to be the end of Seaham as an attacking force, the remaining time proving frustrating for Fenton’s men as they could find no way past keeper Newbrook and a well marshalled defence.

Lively substitutes Dean Holmes and Adam Rowntree roused Shields as the clock ticked over with the visitors pouring forward with a succession of crosses from the left by skipper Dan Patterson providing the ammunition.

In one way traffic, Douglas nodded over, Newbrook denied Holmes and Rowntree, smothered from Richardson at the second attempt and pushed another Rowntree drive just out of the reach of the Elliott.

A frontline finale even saw keeper Robinson up for a couple of corners whilst the Robins knew it wasn’t to be their day when Newbrook, for once, spilled from Rowntree but Holmes’ header from the rebound agonisingly shaved the post.

North Shields: Robinson, Hook, Patterson, Richardson, Harmison, Elliott, M Watson (Holmes 65), Forster, Wright, Douglas, McCrudden (Rowntree 53). Subs not used: Bowman, Ewruje, Fenton.

North Shields have no match on Saturday due to their scheduled opponents Brandon United being involved in a Durham Challenge Cup fixture.

The Robins will host Thornaby with league points at stake on Wednesday, September 26 (7.30pm).

The Shieldsmen will be away to Alnwick Town in the Northumberland Senior Cup on Tuesday, October 9 (7.30pm).