Holmes strike earns North Shields first home win of season

Dean Holmes celebrates scoring the only goal of the game against Guisborough Town. Picture by Craig McVay
Dean Holmes celebrates scoring the only goal of the game against Guisborough Town. Picture by Craig McVay

Back to back wins over clubs in second and third in the Northern League table have galvanised North Shields’ season as that Wembley feel has been resurrected.

Previously unbeaten Morpeth Town had been seen off on their own patch and on Saturday Guisborough returned home pointless after only their second reverse of the season.

Town had recorded a 2-1 verdict over the Shieldsmen on the opening day of the season, but they were second best at the Daren Persson Stadium on Saturday as Graham Fenton’s side celebrated a first home win.

The passion and desire are back with eight of the starting line-up from the FA Vase winning side and another three on the bench.

Denver Morris looks set to be ruled out for much of the season and Wembley skipper Kevin Hughes and defender John Grey are also presently sidelined through injury.

But back leading the line was talisman Gareth Bainbridge who linked up front with top scorer Dan Wilson.

Gary Ormston was unavailable but fellow midfield men Michael McKeown and Adam Forster were back to their best and the Tynesiders showed intensity from the off to delight the home support.

At the back, John Parker again wore the armband with pride showing great organisation and linking brilliantly with Curtis Coppen.

The first period was tight and tense as two well conducted outfits battled for supremacy.

McKeown sprayed the ball around serenely and twice came agonisingly close with efforts of calibre, but the sides could not be separated at half-time.

On 53 minutes came the breakthrough and the all important strike from Dean Holmes.

He and James Luccock had been tormenting the visitors down the flanks and this time the two were part of a flowing move that ended with Town keeper Nick Liversedge picking the ball out of the back of the net.

Guisborough were stirred and only a breathtaking full length goalline clearance from the outstanding Coppen preserved the advantage.

Shields thought they had sewn things up but that elusive first goal from open play has yet to arrive for the unlucky Bainbridge as he was thwarted by the woodwork while the lively substitute Ryan McGorrigan saw his follow up cleared off the line.

McGorrigan was again close as he raced clear but with Sean McCafferty keeping another clean sheet, well protected by his back line, and with Jordan Summerly shining, the hosts protected their advantage in a tense finale with admirable tenacity.

North Shields: McCafferty, Donnison, Summerly, McKeown, Parker, Coppen, Luccock (Walker 74), Forster (Richardson 46), Bainbridge, Wilson (McGorrigan 65), Holmes. Subs not used: Bannon, Lancaster.

Highlights of the game can be seen on NSFC TV.