Another win moves Robins into top four

Denver Morris fires home for North Shields against Bishop Auckland. Picture by Ian Warde.
Denver Morris fires home for North Shields against Bishop Auckland. Picture by Ian Warde.

North Shields are adapting to life in the Northern League First Division and a maximum six point haul from matches at Jarrow Roofing and Bishop Auckland has left them in the top four.

The Shieldsmen secured a 2-0 victory at Roofing last week thanks to a brace from Dean Holmes.

A Friday night trip to Bishop Auckland following, bringing another three points as Graham Fenton’s lads rattled in three second half goals.

The Tynesiders were without suspended duo of skipper Kevin Hughes and Ben Richardson, both casualties from the bruising encounter with Scarborough, but were boosted by the inclusion of front runner Dean Walker after injury and new acquisition from Ashington Chris Bannon who donned the keeper’s gloves.

The league’s ace marksman Gareth Bainbridge was declared fit enough to take a place among the substitutes whilst Joe Elliott led the side out despite pulling up in the warm-up.

It was nip and tuck in the early exchanges with James Luccock revelling and prominent in most of Shields’ sorties.

Curtis Coppen saw a header saved by the host’s Scott Pocklington who then did well to hold onto a teasing Holmes cross.

Walker was only just off target on 22 minutes after latching on to a probing Denver Morris pass but Bannon was kept active and excelled to keep out the home strike force that included former Shieldsman Danny Brunskill.

Shields lost livewire Adam Forster just after the half hour, replaced by Robins legend Robbie Livermore who has rejoined the club after an absence of over two years and who stepped out to make his 111th appearance.

Bishops finished the half the stronger and the visitors were happy to hear the whistle and time to regroup.

Fenton and Brian Smith’s talk galvanised the side and on the resumption Walker poked agonisingly wide before the travelling supporters erupted on 57 minutes as centre half John Parker powerfully nodded in a Luccock cross.

Man of the Match Parker was so close with another effort before Bainbridge was thrust into the fray and as Bishops pressed for a leveller Bannon produced a wonder save right out of the top drawer to keep his side afloat.

Shields had to dig deep with left back John Grey forced to hobble off after bravely blocking in a goalmouth melee.

Holmes saw a drive deflected just past the upright before Morris set off on a dazzling mazy run from the half way line that left defenders trailing in his wake before coolly slotting the ball past the keeper for a breathtaking second strike with five minutes left on the clock.

The cheering had barely died down before Luccock jinked goalwards finding Bainbridge who produced a slick turn and predatory finish for goal number three.

Shields were in dreamland and though the County Durham outfit clipped the bar in stoppage time, Bannon and the men in front of him were in no mood to be beaten.

North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Grey (Hook 76), Coppen, Parker, Elliott, Luccock, Forster (Livermore 36), Morris, Walker (Bainbridge 67), Holmes. Subs (not used): Smith, Morton.