Three second half goals see North Shields make it eight league wins in a row

North Shields' Lee Mason. Picture by Ally Middleton
North Shields' Lee Mason. Picture by Ally Middleton
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North Shields came from behind at West Auckland Town on Saturday to record their eighth successive Northern League win.

The Robins fell behind just after the break with Ibrahim Hassan finding the net.

However, Lee Mason made sure they were not behind for long as it was his cross that was diverted by Grant Rickman into his own net.

Mason then produced a special strike give Jon McDonald’s side the lead before Craig McFarlane wrapped up the win with 25 minutes to go.

Since losing to Morpeth Town in early November, the Robins have won all of their league encounters – a run kick-started by their memorable 1-0 win at South Shields.

Saturday’s victory was crucial as Shields’ battle for the league title continues with all four of the title contenders winning their respective fixtures.

Kicking up hill in the first half, the condition of the pitch was arguably affecting the Robins’ usual passing style as opportunities were lacking with the hosts succeeding in their plan to frustrate the league leaders.

Though their plan to anger their visitors arguably came at a cost as in the second half three West players found themselves in the referee’s book.

Both sides were clumsy in possession in the opening 25 minutes with neither creating any clear-cut chances.

It took until the 32nd minute for the game to open up when McFarlane shot from inside the penalty area for the visitors.

West Auckland also only had one clear chance of their own as the Robins cleared a shot off the line.

With McDonald and his side looking to take the game to the hosts in the second half, they suffered a setback as two minutes after the restart West Auckland went ahead through Hassan.

Sloppy defending saw the West defender beat Shields keeper Kyle Hayes as the ball pinged around the penalty area.

But the Robins showed why they top the table with an instant equaliser just four minutes after falling behind.

The wide areas were proving too much for the home side in the second half, and that is how Mason found a leveller off the boot of Hickman after a cross from out left.

But West went close when Hayes was required to make a great save with his leg to deny Adam Burnicle.

After that scare the Robins went on to take full control.

First Mason curled a shot past keeper Lewis Graham with attacker’s drive smacking off the crossbar to take it into the back of the net on 56 minutes.

Then a cross from the left was blocked twice by West defenders before McFarlane had time to compose himself and bury the ball into the corner.

Shields continued to look threatening, though focus was on seeing out the game in a collective team effort.

In the end, despite some overall shaky moments, McDonald’s side went on to see the game out in comfortable fashion to take their season points total to 76 points.

Next up, North Shields face bottom of the table Chester-le-Street on Saturday.