Hebburn hit for six as Robins march on

North Shields' 2010-11 promotion hopefuls.
North Shields' 2010-11 promotion hopefuls.

NORTH Shields FC were in sixth heaven as they etched their way into the record books to equal a 17 match unbeaten stretch of Northern League matches set by Frank Brennan’s Wembley braves of 1969.

The Robins maintained their promotion push with this mauling of the South Tyneside outfit who had enjoyed an upsurge in fortunes including a win at second-top Guisborough.

Paul Bennett’s side included former Shieldsmen Colin McKenzie, Dean Nicholson and Stephen Hutchinson whilst the Robins were forced to field their third goalkeeper in as many games.

With regular custodian Michael Robinson and deputy Matty Hunter both side-lined through injury, Anthony Woodhouse handed the gloves to Jake Cunningham, who had turned out for Blyth Spartans against the Shieldsmen in this season’s Northumberland Senior cup tie.

The present day Shields squad are looking to bring the good times back to the club and this latest success sees them in a lofty third position.

Both teams had opportunities before the visitors grabbed a 16th minute opener with Mark Rasmussen and Andy Hay combining, Femi Akinbolu getting in a shot that Keith Douglas guided into the net.

That lead was quickly doubled with the goal of the game, Jon Hall’s rocket almost bursting the net.

It was only midway through the first period but Shields were already cruising and home keeper Richard Oliver was fortunate not to concede another as he flapped at a Rasmussen free kick.

Hay was just off target after a neat turn and shot before left back Danny Patterson was celebrating his first goal of the season, putting his side three up on the half hour mark.

However straight from the re-start a lack of concentration saw the hosts reduce the deficit through a spot-kick, converted by McKenzie.

Oliver tipped over a Douglas header as Shields continued in the ascendency with another disciplined display and they extinguished any hopes of a Hebburn fight-back when Douglas, supplied by Hay, advanced to make it 4-1 and notch his 27th of the campaign.

The goal feast continued with Hay magically outmanoeuvring a defender, race towards the net to slot home from a tight angle.

In full flow substitute Michael Pattison’s header at the far post drifted agonisingly inches past the post then the same player ghosted round the keeper only to see his effort frantically booted off the line.

Stephen Forster and Stuart Nicholson both spurned openings to give the scoreline a measure of respectability for the hosts, who conceded a sixth through Hall’s glancing header from a Rasmussen flag kick.

To compound Hebburn woes, Cunningham tipped away a Ross Symington drive then, in stoppage time, Daniel Hall was shown a straight red car for remarks made to the assistant referee.

North Shields: Cunningham, Hall, Patterson, Livermore, Robinson, Akinbolu (Graham 79), Rasmussen, Watson (Atkinson 51), Hay, Douglas, Luccock (Pattison 59). Subs (not used) Bowman, Grey.

On Saturday North Shields are away to Birtley Town, 3pm kick-off.

The away fixture with Gillford Park last weekend and Tuesday night’s home game against Marske United were both called off because of waterlogged pitches.