Wembley dreams continue for Robins

Kieran Wrightson on the ball for North Shields in their FA Vase clash against Sunderland RCA. Picture by Ian Warde.
Kieran Wrightson on the ball for North Shields in their FA Vase clash against Sunderland RCA. Picture by Ian Warde.

North Shields continue on the Wembley trail and a FA Vase Third round tie at fellow Northern Leaguers Seaham Red Star now awaits.

In what was a potentially tricky match at Meadow Park, Graham Fenton’s Shieldsmen were simply awesome in their second half showing after doing just enough to hold their hosts at the break.

This was a welcome distraction to the Robins inspiring Northern League First Division campaign which saw them rise to the giddy heights of second place after former Vase winners Dunston UTS were beaten 2-0 midweek.

Highlights of that stirring clash were another two goals for the prolific Gareth Bainbridge – the first from the penalty spot after he had been brought down after latching onto a peach of a ball from centre half John Parker, the second a dream header from a Ben Richardson corner.

A wonder save from Chris Bannon kept the Shields’ lead intact with Richardson’s thunderous drive somehow kept out to deny his side a third.

Prior to that the Robins had advanced in the Northern League Cup with a 4-3 verdict over Newcastle Benfield which featured Bainbridge completing a glorious hat-trick with an audacious chip and Ryan Carr also getting on the scoresheet.

At Sunderland RCA, Fenton had to reckon without full backs Stuart Donnison (injured) and John Grey (suspended) but skipper Kevin Hughes returned.

Kieran Wrightson ran the show with a masterful performance with second half midfield incumbents Adam Forster and Michael McKeown settling in so smoothly.

Home keeper Carl Morris kept his side afloat in the early stages superbly denying the Tynesiders by tipping over from both Denver Morris and Wrightson then thwarting Bainbridge despite claims for a spot kick.

As the first half unwound Martin Swales’ side began to press and it was the turn of Bannon to shine with a stunning save to keep out a James Armstrong effort then a Stephen Bogie curler struck the post.

It was all to play for as the teams walked off but once the Robins led in the 51st minute there was only one winner.

Shields were immense in the second period with a warrior like showing and a slick move ended with Wrightson delivering an imaginative pass to Bainbridge who made no mistake.

Five minutes on and the Sunderland backline was carved open again with the hard-working James Luccock and Morris combining and once more Bainbridge was lurking to finish succinctly.

The Wearsiders forced a number of corner kicks but were caught out again as a quick throw from Bannon released Morris who advanced up the flank, finding Luccock who in turn cleverly picked out Bainbridge to jubilantly tuck away his 26th goal of the campaign so far and eighth in his last four matches.

North Shields: Bannon, Elliott, Lancaster, Coppen, Parker (McKeown 71), Hughes, Morris, Richardson (Forster 61), Bainbridge (Taylor 76), Wrightson, Luccock. Subs (not used): Carr, Holmes.

• On Saturday Shields travel to Craik Park to take on Morpeth Town (3pm) then host Ashington at the Daren Persson Stadium on Wednesday, December 3 (7.30pm).

The FA Vase Third Round tie at Seaham Red Star takes place on Saturday, December 6.