Robins end year on high with derby win

NORTH Shields ended the year on a high note by consolidating second spot in the table with a narrow 2-1 win over their near neighbours in a keenly contested encounter.

Shields defended superbly facing a strong wind in the first period, took a two goal lead on the turnaround through Andy Hay and Scott Blandford but had to withstand a late fight back from the visitors, reduced to ten men with Stephen Little’s dismissal, who replied through Gary Day.

The line-ups revealed a plethora of players who have turned out in both red and green and white colours.

Shieldsmen Danny Patterson, Paul Gordon, Keith Douglas, Mark Rasmussen and Gareth McAlindon have all played for Celtic as have the suspended Kevin Hughes and management duo Anthony Woodhouse and Andy Bowman.

Celtic include former Robins coaches Wilf Keilty and Paul Hogg in the dug-out alongside Mark Minto, Dean Lee, David Henderson, Chris Douglas and Aiden Ames in their 16.

As early as the second minute Hay weaved his way into the Allotment box only to be denied by a brave block from Ames before the visitors threatened with centre forward Sean Read rifling over at the far post then Scott Fenwick too drove over.

Against the elements Shields struggled to make many sorties into the opposing half with the visitors enjoying the bulk of possession without troubling keeper Michael Robinson too much.

Ames touched behind from Gordon in a home break before Reid struck the Shields woodwork five minutes before the half time whistle.

Ames was marginally the busier keeper in the opening 45 minutes and the last action of the half saw him tip aside a Hay effort.

The game sparked into life on 51 minutes with a quality strike from Hay who turned on a sixpence before drilling in a shot well out of the reach of Ames.

Allotment were close to levelling as a Minto header following a corner thudded against the crossbar but then Celtic found themselves up against it with Little sent from the field after receiving a second yellow card.

Almost immediately Robins skipper Keith Douglas could have given his side some breathing space when he latched onto a long Robinson clearance but Ames blocked from the striker, one short of 50 goals for the club.

Douglas, though, supplied the corner kick from which Scott Blandford rose majestically to power a header into the top corner and with just 12 minutes remaining it now looked plain sailing for the hosts.

However Allotment had other ideas and after Day poked the ball home it set the scene for a nerve wracking final session.

Tempers became frayed following a challenge by Ian Dunn on James Luccock that created a skirmish but Shields managed to play out the remaining minutes and hold on for three precious points.

North Shields: Robinson, Baistow, Patterson, McAlindon, Harmison, Dunn, Rasmussen (Blandford 52), Livermore (Luccock 58), Hay, Douglas, Gordon (Wright 58). Subs not used: Bowlt, Grey.

On Saturday North Shields travel to Easington Colliery, 3pm kick-off.