NORTH Shields have a good record at Crook’s Millfield Ground in recent seasons, and on Saturday Graham Fenton’s squad travelled with confidence following four successive wins over Morpeth, Esh Winning, Darlington RA and Alnwick.
However they could not claw their way back into the game following a sluggish opening despite rallying after the break.
Crook’s Richard Hodgson struck on 11 minutes and Chris Wallace should have made it two but dragged his shot wide when well placed.
In the second period Rob Nolan almost levelled, driving inches past the upright after receiving from Ben Richardson, then only the combined efforts on the line from keeper Barry Poskett and Ian Maddison kept out another effort.
Kyle Davis doubled his side’s advantage before Nolan, fed by Douglas, blasted in a beauty on 66 minutes to give Shields hope, but Warren Byrne sewed up the points for the hosts late on.
Fenton summed up the 90 minutes as: “Hopefully only a blip with Crook winning the physical side of the game.”
Assistant boss Andy Bowman added: “We were out fought in the first 20 minutes, though the Crook centre half could have been red-carded for a bad challenge on Keith Douglas and that would have changed the game.
“We had some good spells but didn’t threaten in the first half.
“On the turnaround we created chances and Rob Nolan’s movement caused them problems.”
North Shields: McCafferty, Hook (Hall 60), Patterson, McKeown, Elliott, Akinbolu, Richardson, Forster, Nolan, Douglas (Rowntree 70), Holmes. Subs not used: Hay, McCrudden, M Watson.