North Shields off the mark against promoted Cestrians
North Shields started the Ebac Northern League division one campaign with a win which should have been far more emphatic.
The Robins found Chester-le-Street Town goalkeeper Jack Wilson in fine form following a 6-0 drubbing by Shildon in midweek.
And it was Jack Devlin and Dan Wilson who he managed to frustrate the most.
The Robins starting line-up saw Michael McKeown, Dean Holmes and Craig McFarlane still out while the recovering Kevin Hughes was confined to the bench. Dan Wilson started up front in place of Gareth Bainbridge.
It took only five minutes for Wilson to cause problems for the Cestrian’s defence when a long ball from John Parker found the striker about 30 yards from goal, and he ran and then shot only to see his namesake in goal tip his shot over the bar.
Ten minutes in, Shields’ Wilson turned provider as a long Kyle Hayes goal kick was flicked into the path of the on-rushing Devlin, who was playing in a wider role, and his shot was saved by the fingertips of Jack Wilson for a corner.
On the quarter hour mark the home side had their first attempt on goal, but a tame header from Lee Mole drifted wide and failed to trouble Hayes.
But the Robins keeper was called into action a few minutes later when a poor clearance fell straight to the opposition and the shot cannoned off Parker but safely into Hayes’ gloves.
Just after the half hour, Jack Donnison found space down the right and crossed for Wilson, and as the ball ricocheted to him he shot from a tight angle only to be denied again.
More chances came as Lee Mason fired wide from distance and Gary Ormston headed a corner against the post, but it remained 0-0 at the break.
Shields carried on in a similar vein in the second half as Adam Forster tried his luck, before Donnison hobbled off to be replaced by Denver Morris.
Playing in an unfamiliar right back role, Morris showed attacking instinct by first fizzing a shot just wide and then by winning a free kick on the by-line. Mason’s delivery then found Curtis Coppen completely unmarked and he headed in to set off loud cheers from the Shields contingent in the 146 crowd.
From the kick-off Shields attacked again and Wilson was again denied by his namesake in the Chester-le-Street goal.
More chances came and went as Jordan Summerly tried to add to the lead with a low drive and substitute Bainbridge could not find a Shields player with his cross.
The nearest the Cestrians came was a crossed free kick which Hayes punched away for a throw-in, but they were never likely to unpick the Shields backline.
Shields boss Graham Fenton thought it was a frustrating afternoon but was pleased to get the job done.
Next up is Washington at home on Wednesday evening, before Morpeth are the visitors in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, with a 3pm kick-off.
Highlights of the win over Chester-le-Street are on the NSFCTV channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx-d9_S1lPE
North Shields: Hayes, Donnison (Morris, 56), Summerly, Ormston, Coppen, Parker, Devlin (Taylor, 46), Forster, Wilson (Bainbridge, 74), Mason, Carr.