Robins go down to Walton double
North Shields could finish as low as third after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Morpeth Town.
Despite looking the most likely to opening the scoring in the first-half, Joe Walton put the Highwaymen into the lead right on the edge of half-time.
Walton then dealt a second blow to the Robins when he added his second shortly after the break.
North Shields then made it a nervy ending when substitute Bobby Taylor fired a goal of the month contender past Karl Dryden seven minutes from time.
But Highwaymen held out for the win to stretch the Robins winless streak to four games. Morpeth are now in the driving sheet to take the runners-up spot if they fail to catch South Shields at the top of the Northern League.
It was a kind touch from the visitors to kick start the evening as Morpeth owner Ken Beattie asked his players to perform a guard of honour to recognise the Robins near-title winning efforts this season.
And perhaps the Morpeth players were showing North Shields too much respect in the first-half as the hosts seen the better of the opening opportunities.
Dryden produced a double save on 13 minutes to first deny Lee Mason and again from close range – this time keeping out Dan Wilson.
Michael McKeown then squandered a good chance to put the hosts ahead on 21 minutes when he should have connected a better header from Ryan Carr’s cross.
The Robins were then denied by the crossbar as Curtis Coppen’s turning shot found its way just high of Dryden’s top corner moments before the half-hour mark. Morpeth were threatening on the counter but the Shields defence stayed structured to limit efforts on Kyle Hayes’ goal.
But as the saying goes, ‘you must score when you’re on top’ and that was made to count in the 45th minute when Liam Henderson slide the ball through to the Walton, who rounded Hayes to slot home into an empty net.
And while the Robins were looking to find their rhythm in the second-half, a loose ball in midfield was picked up by Sean Taylor who raced through to eventually find Walton free at the back post to fire the ball into the bottom corner on 52 minutes.
Shields were very sloppy in possession where they were uncharacteristically giving the ball cheaply away.
While chances weren’t a given for Morpeth, that gave the Robins a chance of finding a goal and create a nervous finish.
A double change had already been made by McDonald in the 65th minutes as Dean Holmes and Gareth Bainbridge formed a new attack in place of Mason and Wilson. Though it would be the introduction of Taylor 12 minutes from time that would give the Robins a way back into the tie.
Just three minutes after coming on, Taylor unleashed a wonderful strike from outside the area to find the top corner of Dryden’s goal.
In the middle of Shields’ pressure, Hayes was forced into a quite remarkable save to divert substitute Mark Davidson’s header over the bar.
Ryan Carr then went up straight up the other end to have an effort blocked from inside the area before the referee blew his final whistle.