Robins go second with fifth win in row
Billingham Synthonia 0-1 North Shields
The Robins are perching high - now up to second place in the table after a fifth straight win and without Kyle Hayes having to pick the ball out of the net even once.
Shields dominated throughout but couldnt make the breakthrough until a smart free kick movement in the 63rd minute saw Dean Holmes drive in the clincher.
Hosts Synners currently playing in Norton are finding it a struggle to adapt to the step up to first division status but they certainly were sterling in defence as they tried to frustrate the Shieldsmen.
Boss Brian Smith rotated his squad and handed James Luccock the captains armband as one of the Wembley heroes took the field to make his 200th appearance for the club -and who of the Robins faithful can possibly forget that stunning four-goal haul after coming on against Darlington RA in his first spell with the club.
Shields moved the ball about sprightly from the off with Adam Forster returning to the midfield looking sharp but home custodian Adrian Beblowski was well protected as the Tynesiders hovered around the home area.
Paul Robinson was exerting his influence and had an early effort deflected behind, the keeper saved well from David Henderson then Luccock and spectacularly a low screamer from Forster
Holmes drove over and Richard Pell nodded wide with Luccock denied by the woodwork but that elusive goal just wouldnt arrive by the time the half time whistle blew.
The second period unwound in the same vein with Shields continuing to press and a rasping Robinson effort only kept out by the crossbar.
Shields made changes including the introduction of Gareth Bainbridge who notched a hat trick the last time the sides met after coming off the bench in a 4-2 verdict at Billingham old Central Avenue ground just before the Robins prepared to take on Highworth Town in that Vase semi final..
Holmes sent the visiting fans into raptures with what proved to be the winner and through Bainbridge and fellow subs Lee Mason and Ryan Carr all but put the Robins out of reach thwarted by some frantic defending it was a nervy final few munutes that the Shieldsmen had to see off before returning home with another 3 points.