South Shields were in seventh heaven after producing a scintillating performance to hammer Jarrow Roofing in the South Tyneside derby.
The Mariners were in unstoppable mood at the Boldon CA Sports Ground, with David Foley hitting a hat-trick, while Dillon Morse and Gavin Cogdon scored braces in a 7-0 win.
It was a real statement of intent from Shields in front of a bumper crowd of 1,072, as they claimed their 13th consecutive victory in all competitions.
The Mariners looked set to be in for a real battle as they aimed for a third win of the season over Roofing when, in the opening exchanges, Dennis Knight flashed a half volley over for the hosts.
However, Shields attacked from the resulting goal kick and the onslaught began.
Michael Richardson – who was outstanding throughout – did brilliantly to twist his way past Lee Kerr on the inside-right of the box, and his cross was inch-perfect for Foley to volley home from eight yards.
Cogdon had a goal ruled out soon after, but in the sixth minute, Shields did grab their second.
Robert Briggs looped in a cross from the right, and when it bounced in the area, Morse showed the determination to get there first and hook the ball into the bottom corner as he followed up his goal against Penrith in midweek.
The Mariners were rampant, running at the Roofing defence from all angles as they looked to put the game to bed early.
Cogdon looked odds-on to score Shields’ third on 10 minutes when Alex Nicholson clipped a pass over the top, but with goalkeeper Lewis Brass advancing, the striker poked an effort wide.
Chris Winn headed wide in a rare chance for the home side, and the Mariners almost punished that miss immediately when Richardson robbed a defender of possession in the box and rounded the goalkeeper before seeing his on-target shot blocked by Kris Hughes.
Wayne Phillips also sliced an effort not far wide after cutting in from the right, before the third goal was delivered by Cogdon before 18 minutes were even on the clock.
Barrie Smith, Craig Baxter and Richardson teased the Roofers with some excellent play in a triangle on the right, before Richardson produced some great skill to set up a cross for Baxter. He then drove on before pulling the ball back for Cogdon, who hooked it brilliantly into the top corner to delight the huge travelling support.
A fourth goal in 20 minutes looked on the cards when Foley pounced on a Roofing error at the back, but he could only divert his shot wide to give the hosts a reprieve.
That only delayed the inevitable, though, and Cogdon did get his second of the game when Richardson received the ball 20 yards out and clipped through a pass which was backheeled by Foley to Cogdon, who slotted into the bottom corner.
Cogdon and Foley both went close as they sent efforts wide, while Cogdon and Richardson were denied by fine saves by Brass as Shields threatened to run further riot.
Briggs was the next to threaten when he hit a bullet of an effort not far wide from the edge of the box, while Liam Connell was called into action for the first time in the Shields goal when he did well to cling onto a shot from Kerr.
Goal number five arrived nine minutes before half-time for the Mariners.
Shields worked the ball from right to left, where Nicholson received it on the chest, cut inside and delivered a terrific cross which Foley met with an unstoppable header from 12 yards.
Roofing could have claimed a consolation goal early in the second half, but Paul Gardiner could only head wide from a Knight free-kick.
At the other end, Foley and Cogdon continued to have joy, with the former denied a hat-trick by a fine low save by Brass after being found by Richardson.
He did not have to wait too much longer for his third, though.
It arrived when Richardson won a challenge in the centre and immediately slipped a pass through the middle for Foley, who nipped in between the defence and goalkeeper, touched it past Brass and then fired in off the bar for his 20th goal of the season.
Foley has already claimed two four-goal hauls this season, and almost had another when another low shot was excellently kept out by Brass.
The seventh goal came when a deep Richardson corner from the left was retrieved by Briggs, who superbly beat his defender before sending in a low ball which Morse brilliantly flicked home as he showed the instinct of a striker.
Winn looked like he might pull a goal back for the Roofers when he was played in on goal, but he could only shoot over.
Connell also made a fine save from Gardiner, while at the other end, substitute Carl Finnigan looked the most likely to score the eighth, first stinging the palms of Brass before having one ruled out for offside.
It was a fantastic performance from the Mariners – arguably their best of the season to date – as they warmed up for next Saturday’s FA Vase trip to Team Solent in style.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Nicholson (Callaghan 56), Briggs, Morse, Shaw (c), Smith, Phillips, Cogdon (Finnigan 61), Richardson, Foley (Ramsey 69). Subs not used: Holden, Stephenson.
Goals: Foley (2, 36, 55), Morse (6, 62), Cogdon (18, 24).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.