South Shields opened up a 12 point lead at the top of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division on a record-breaking and pulsating day at Mariners Park.

The Mariners defeated second-placed FC United 5-3 in a thrilling encounter in front of a crowd of 3,276, which broke the ground’s league attendance record.

It was a fully-deserved victory for Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side, who went ahead in the 21st minute as Jason Gilchrist found the net against his former club.

Shields’ first half dominance was rewarded with further goals in the latter stages of the half from Josh Gillies and Gilchrist, and they went into the half-time break with a huge amount of confidence.

FC United responded well in the early stages of the second half and pulled a goal back through the prolific Tunde Owolabi, only for Nathan Lowe to swiftly restore the three-goal advantage with a stunning drive from distance.

The end to the game was more fractured as the Mariners were forced to reshuffle three times because of injuries, with Owolabi adding two further goals to complete his hat-trick and give FC United some hope.

Between those strikes, though, Bali Mumba netted on his home debut for Shields to seal their victory and again boost their hopes of clinching promotion.

Full report to follow.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Baxter, Adams (Thompson 73), Shaw (c) (Ross 59), Verstraaten, Turnbull, Gillies, Briggs, Gilchrist (Mason 68), Lowe, Mumba. Subs not used: Jenkins, Gonzales.

Goals: Gilchrist (21, 45), Gillies (42), Lowe (52), Mumba (89).

Attendance: 3,274.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.

The club is pleased to announce the appointment of Colin Docherty as Business Development Manager.

Colin was previously at the club between 2015 and 2016 as he helped it develop in its early days at Mariners Park after returning from Peterlee.

He will now work with the commercial team in helping to drive the Mariners forward, assisting with sponsorship, events and marketing.

Club Chairman Geoff Thompson said: “We’re delighted to welcome Colin back to the club.

“He is someone who knows the club well, knows the people here and is passionate about our club.

“He is very clear on what needs to be achieved off the pitch but I’m fully confident in his ability to work with the commercial team in developing us positively off the pitch as we seek to grow and achieve our ambitions.”

Colin said: “When the opportunity of returning to the club was discussed with Geoff, it was too good to turn down.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time here previously and I’m looking forward to helping push the club further forward.

“I have some great memories of my first spell here and I’m hoping there will be plenty more on the way.

“It’s inspiring to see how much the club has grown since I was here and I’m confident there is plenty more growth to come.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with our supporters and existing sponsors once again, and I am also in the process of reaching out to prospective new sponsors as we aim to drive the club forward together.”

The club has taken note of Government, FA and league advice in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) ahead of Saturday’s game against FC United of Manchester at Mariners Park.

The BetVictor Northern Premier Division announced on Friday that all fixtures would take place as planned this weekend.

Proactive steps are being taken across the country in a bid to prevent the illness spreading.

South Shields Football Club is committed to adhering to whichever protocol is laid out, but we all have a role to play in limiting the spread of the illness.

Personal hygiene is key.

Several posters issuing advice on the coronavirus have been placed around Mariners Park ahead of Saturday’s match and they explain how serious the illness is and how likely you are to catch it.

Supporters are asked to follow the below guidance.

  • Wash hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Always wash hands when you get home or into work
  • Use hand sanitiser gels if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin straightaway and wash your hands afterwards – catch it, bin it, kill it
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are showing symptoms of coronavirus
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • There is a higher likelihood of severe illness the older you are (not an increased chance of contracting the virus), with those under 25 likely to be unaffected by the disease. However, there is no age-specific guidance at this moment in time.

Sports are asked to keep up to date with and follow Government and Public Health England guidance.

The key issues for hosting a sports event are:

  • PHE guidance should be read and followed
  • For those travelling to sporting events overseas or returning from overseas to sports events, the Foreign Office’s travel advice should be read and followed
  • Promote best practice for hygiene, ensuring cleaning is effective and soaps are provided (and sanitiser where possible)
  • Anyone with flu symptoms should avoid the risk of spreading their infection, whatever that infection may be, by staying at home and recovering
  • Clubs are advised that if any spectator presents to a club member of staff with possible flu-like symptoms they should be encouraged to leave, return home and call NHS 111 for further advice
  • For those hosting sporting events, whatever their size, attendees and participants should stay up to date on the government’s latest advice on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus

Those who feel unwell, as per Government advice released on Thursday, should self-isolate.

The Government has moved to the delay phase of its plan to tackle coronavirus and those with a “new, continuous” cough or high temperature are being advised to self-isolate for seven days.

Any supporter who is feeling unwell – particularly those with flu-type symptoms – is asked not to attend games.

The club will continue to monitor the national and local situation as further advice is issued in the coming days and weeks.

Please do what you can to assist us with this. After all, health is much more important than sport.