Mason bags four goals as North Shields put six past Washington
Four goals from Lee Mason, including a seven-minute hat-trick, saw North Shields increase their advantage at the top of the Ebac Northern League and give them a winning start to 2017.
Mason opened the scoring on nine minutes before efforts in the 13th and 16th minute saw him complete his treble. He then added his fourth just after the break.
Craig McFarlane and substitute Gareth Bainbridge also found the net for the Jon McDonald’s side as they stretched their lead to eight points at the top of the standings.
Hopes of a clean sheet for the visitors were breached just before half-time when Matty Waters grabbed a consolation goal for the Mechanics.
McDonald’s men once again showed their title credentials with a score-line that could have easily saw more in favour of the visitors.
The Robins knew a win would see them pile more pressure on second placed South Shields, who were in FA Vase action against Morpeth Town.
And the deadlock was quickly broken when Marc Lancaster’s cross was mis-kicked by Washington’s Marc Costello into the path of Mason, who scored without knowing too much about it.
There was nothing fortunate about Mason’s second when he brilliantly rifled a shot into the top left corner.
Three minutes later, Mason completed his astonishing hat-trick in cool fashion after rounding Gladstone to roll the ball into an empty net.
Mason then proceeded to turn provider after he drifted out wide to find McFarlane who fired his shot in off the post following a clever dummy from Dean Holmes.
As the score-line showed, Shields were unstoppable as another chance was created when Gary Ormston headed inches wide.
The only real complaint that Shields boss McDonald could have possibly made about the first half was when his side allowed Jake Fowler’s corner to find Waters who bundled the ball over the line on 39 minutes.
Kyle Hayes only had one save to make prior to Washington’s goal as he denied Jon Wightman’s powerful effort.
In the second half, the away side showed no signs of slackening when going forward as Holmes went close to punishing Michael Laws’ missed clearance just after the restart, though Holmes would be back moments later to apply a well-waited cross that deceived Gladstone for Mason’s fourth of the afternoon.
Ryan Carr and McFarlane both had efforts before McDonald brought his four-goal hero off – Mason – for Bainbridge.
Bainbridge continued Shields’ offensive threat after finding himself in behind the Washington back four as Gladstone was made to work again.
North Shields fans were desperate to see Bainbridge get on the score sheet, and their wishes came made true on 75 minutes.
Holmes was once again the provider as he found Bainbridge, who despite scuffing his shot, found the bottom corner for a Shields sixth.
The away side were dominant in the wide areas all game, which is how their last chance of the contest was presented. Good work between McFarlane and Carr saw Bainbridge nearly bag a second.
The Robins’ next game sees them host Consett on Saturday for their first game at the Daren Perrson Stadium in 2017.