North Shields remain unbeaten in ten league and cup games as they continue to challenge at the top of the league.
The latest victory – 1-0 over Newton Aycliffe – was much more comfortable than the scoreline suggests with the Shieldsmen enjoying the bulk of possession and keeping their discipline against difficult opposition.
Ryan Carr was the matchwinner with a 51st minute strike as the hosts ended the afternoon with only nine men left on the park.
Graham Fenton rotated his squad and in came Curtis Coppen, Joe Elliott, Denver Morris and Carr to start.
Aycliffe keeper James Hunter was kept busy throughout as the Tynesiders attempted to play their flowing football on a poor surface.
Morris, against his old club, tested the custodian early on with a low drive then Hunter showed safe handling by keeping out a Michael McKeown effort.
It continued one way traffic and the overworked Hunter superbly tipped over a Marc Lancaster scorcher.
Right on the interval Craig Garthwaite was shown a red card for a foul in the penalty area but Gareth Bainbridge’s spot kick was turned round the post by Hunter.
Soon after the turnaround though came the breakthrough as Coppen’s header from McKeown’s delicious free kick came back off the woodwork only for Carr to be lurking and jubilantly crash home the rebound.
The awesome Coppen all but glanced another header over the keeper before Shields shuffled with Gary Day and Kieran Wrightson introduced into the fray.
Aycliffe’s sole attempt saw Stuart Banks just off target whereas at the other end John Parker’s header was scrambled off the line as James Luccock and Day posed problems for the home back line.
Aycliffe had centre half Andrew Green dismissed late on after receiving a second yellow card.
North Shields: Robinson, Elliott, Lancaster, McKeown, Parker, Hughes, Morris (Wrightson 73), Coppen, Bainbridge (Day 65), Carr, Luccock. Subs (not used) Grey, Richardson, Holmes.