Scarborough Athletic 1 VS 3 South Shields
Luke Sullivan struck twice as South Shields maintained their perfect start to life in the Northern Premier League with a comfortable 3-1 win at Scarborough Athletic.
Matty Pattison opened the scoring for the Mariners within the first seven minutes, and when Sullivan made it two on the quarter-hour mark, they were well on their way.
Boro - who are expected to be one of Shields' main rivals in the promotion race this season - pulled a goal back almost immediately.
However, their chances became limited when winger Max Wright was given a straight red card for kicking the ball into the crowd, hitting a Mariners fan in the face.
Sullivan grabbed a deserved second after the break to send an away support numbering well over 500 home in good spirits.
Shields have now won four games out of four in EVO-STIK North following promotion from the Northern League.
This was tipped to be their toughest challenge yet against a buoyant Scarborough who have just returned to the town following a 10-year exile.
The Mariners came out of the blocks quickly, though, and took the lead in the seventh minute.
Sullivan chased what looked to be a lost cause on the inside-left of the area and forced a home defender into a mistake, before dispossessing him and playing it inside for Pattison.
He took a touch to steady himself before slotting home for his third goal in five games for the Mariners.
Shields went further ahead on 15 minutes, with Pattison's deep corner from the right headed against the post by Darren Lough, before Sullivan snapped up the rebound as he nodded in.
Scarborough's riposte was immediate, with Nathan Valentine firing past Liam Connell after a low ball from the left.
It was turning into a great spectacle for the crowd of 1,667 at Flamingo Land Stadium, with chances at both ends.
The best of them fell the way of Sullivan, who hit the bar from close range after connecting with a cross from Jon Shaw.
Then came the main talking point as Wright, in frustration, kicked the ball off the pitch and into the face of a Shields supporter, who required some treatment. Wright was given his marching orders.
The Mariners kept the ball well in the second half as they made the most of their man advantage, and all but wrapped up the points on 52 minutes.
A chipped ball forward by Dillon Morse was chested past a defender by Sullivan, before he rifled home to grab a deserved second of the game.
Pattison saw a free-kick palmed wide, while Robert Briggs had a great chance to make it four when he was played in by substitute Michael Richardson, but screwed his effort past the post.
Boro's best spell came in the closing minutes, but they couldn't find a way past Connell, who tipped over a header from Billy Logan to ensure there was no grandstand finish.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Lough, Shaw, Morse, Arca (c), Briggs, Smith, Cogdon (Holmes 68), Pattison (Richardson 66), Sullivan (Nicholson 85). Subs not used: Norton, Callaghan.
Goals: Pattison (7), Sullivan (15, 52).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.