Bishop Auckland 0-2 South Shields: Eight wins in a row for Mariners
A polished away performance saw South Shields claim an eighth win in a row on Saturday as they got the better of Bishop Auckland at Heritage Park.
First half goals from Andrew Stephenson and Wayne Phillips were enough for the Mariners, who always had control of the game as they showed great patience on the ball.
The result kept Shields second in Northern League Division One ahead of Saturday’s table-topping clash with leaders North Shields at Mariners Park.
The Mariners quickly got on top of a Bishops side playing catch-up in the league, having reached the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup earlier this season.
Julio Arca sent an early free-kick wide, and then played in important part in the opening goal on five minutes.
He stepped in on a loose pass from the hosts at the back and found Robert Briggs, who threaded a pass through for Stephenson. He took it past the goalkeeper and kept his composure to finish low into the net.
As they had done at Morpeth Town two weeks previously, the Mariners threatened to run riot in the first half, and they could have gone 2-0 up soon after the opener when a quick break led to an opportunity for Phillips, but home goalkeeper Edward Wilczynski kept his effort out.
Wilczynski also did well to keep out a low shot from David Carson after the Shields midfielder gained possession in the centre before firing from outside the area.
At the other end, there were few chances for Bishops, but one of their few first half openings came when Shields gave it away at the back, and Liam Connell saved from Priestley Griffiths.
Phillips scored the goal of the game in the 27th minute as he kept up his fine form.
He stepped in on a loose ball after running in from the right, and dribbled across the pitch before beating Wilczynski with a delightful chip from outside the box.
The hosts almost pulled a goal back eight minutes before half-time when the ball broke to Adam Nicholls, but he could only hammer a shot not far wide.
Shields started the better of the two teams in the second half, and after a number of bright moves, Stephenson went close as Wilczynski was forced into a good save.
Substitute David Foley had a great chance to put the game out of sight when Carson dribbled into space in the box before cutting the ball back to him, but he was unable to hit the target as the ball cleared the crossbar.
Connell had to be alert at the other end as Bishops tried to put him under pressure, but he was up to the task as he palmed behind a powerful low effort from James Fairley.
Danger man Andrew Johnson hit one over for the home side, while debutant Leon Carling headed over from a corner as they aimed to find a way back into the game.
Shields, for their part, tried to wrap the points up, and Briggs curled a free-kick over before Foley turned his man on the edge of the box and hit a low shot which deflected into the hands of Wilczynski.
Bishops should have pulled a goal back with 11 minutes left when the ball was played across the box to substitute Chris Winn, but he miscued in front of goal and the Mariners were able to clear.
Michael Hoganson and Fairley were also off target late on as Shields preserved their clean sheet and were rewarded for another fine performance.
Next up is the derby with North Shields on Saturday at Mariners Park, for which tickets remain available by visiting the ground or calling 0191 454 7800.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Danny Carson, Callaghan, Arca (c), Morse, Shaw, Phillips (Ramsey 72), Briggs, Finnigan (Foley 43), David Carson, Stephenson. Subs not used: Baxter, Smith, Scroggins.
Goals: Stephenson (5), Phillips (27).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.