Hay striker enough for Robins to beat Alnwick

ANDY Hay’s dazzling 29th minute strike, his first goal of the campaign, lit up an otherwise drab 90 minutes at the Daren Persson Stadium.

Goals flowed when the two sides had met only days earlier at St James Park, this time both defences tightened up, and it was a lone goal that secured three precious points for the Robins.

It was never going to easy against a struggling Alnwick side but one which had shown their battling credentials.

Hay’s effort, though, was worthy of winning any match and Graham Fenton’s Robins are certainly chirping loudly at the moment.

The Shields heroes were at the back with the central pairing of Joe Elliott and Femi Akinbolu taking the plaudits as a second successive clean sheet on home soil was recorded.

The visitors enjoyed a fair share of first half possession but it was their custodian Brian Brooks who was by far the busier of the two keepers.

Early on he tipped over an Akinbolu header following a Ben Richardson free kick, had no chance with Hay’s pearler into the top corner but before the turnaround touched aside a Keith Douglas effort and another from Hay.

The Tynesiders lined up for the second period without Hay and suffered another blow just before the hour mark with top scorer Douglas pulling up with a hamstring injury.

Still only one down Alnwick sensed they could take something from the afternoon and Wyn Fremlyn’s neat turn and shot forced Sean McCafferty to spectacularly turn behind then fellow substitute James Jackson rifled over the top.

Shields were looking more and more anxious and relieved when Fremlyn netted but the offside flag was already raised.

Fenton’s lads though rolled their sleeves up to come through this sticky patch and Dean Holmes all but made it 2-0 after managing to round Brooks on 86 minutes but Tom McPherson did well to get back and block the line.

Alnwick continued the threaten throughout a generous amount of stoppage time but it was the Shieldsmen who trooped off with three crucial points under their belts.

North Shields: McCafferty, Hall, Patterson, McKeown (Hook 86), Elliott, Akinbolu, Douglas (Wright 58), Forster, Hay (McCrudden 46), Richardson, Holmes. Subs (not used): M Watson, Rowntree. Man of the match Joe Elliott.