NORTH Shields got two more pre-season games under their belts and as usual it’s difficult to judge just how much to read into the proceedings.
Last year the Shieldsmen beat Whitley Bay and drew with Blyth Spartans and Ashington but then endured a torrid start when points mattered and made an early exit from the FA Cup.
On Saturday the Shieldsmen travelled north of the border to Galashiels and secured a 1-1 draw.
East of Scotland League outfit Gala Fairydean provided the opposition, returning the compliment after enjoying their trip to Tyneside last pre-season, that match also ending in a 1-1 scoreline.
Shields were a little short of numbers if not on effort with a host of regulars including Dean Holmes, Adam Forster, Danny Patterson, Andy Hay and new recruit Phil Robinson either injured or unavailable.
Shields started sprightly with Paul Watson striking a post in the first minute but fell behind on the 13-minute mark with the prolific Jack Hay netting in Gala’s initial attack.
Home keeper Elliot Turnbull spectacularly tipped over from Keith Douglas before Graham Fenton’s lads equalised early into the second period.
Skipper Douglas drove home following some splendid work by Adam Rowntree with Shields substitute Barry Howe denied by Turnbull in a keenly contested spectacle with both sides sensing a draw as a fair result.
North Shields extended a welcome to the Daren Persson Stadium in midweek to Whitley Bay and, in view of the history between the clubs, it was not surprising that the normal spirited issue ensued.
After losing the last two clashes both 2-1, the Seahorses took the honours this time by the same scoreline.
A first half brace from Lee Kerr ultimately proved sufficient whilst Shields striker Stewart Wright was twice thwarted by the woodwork with fine efforts.
Bay keeper Kyle Hayes somehow kept out a pearler from Jonathan Hall and the hosts’ only reward was to be a clinical finish on the hour by Dean Holmes.
North Shields: Robinson, Hook, Elliott, P Watson, Akinbolu, Swinyard, Hall, M Watson, Rowntree, Wright, Holmes. Subs: Smith, Howe, Patterson, McCoy, Douglas, Bowman.
Whitley Bay: Hayes, Anderson, McFarlane, Scroggins, Donnelly, Anzevui, Morris, Fawcett, Kerr, Chow, Robinson. Subs: Owens, Mooney, Fairley, McMullen, C Smith, Walker, B Smith.
The North Shields AGM is being held on Tuesday, July 31, in the clubhouse, starting at 7.30pm.
On Wednesday, August 1, North Shields are at home to Ashington, kick-off 7.30pm.