Champions South Shields completed one of their most memorable seasons in living memory with an eighth consecutive win.
Stephen Ramsey’s late header was enough to earn the Mariners a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Northallerton Town.
The win saw Shields avenge one of their five league losses this season, with Northallerton having won 3-2 at Mariners Park on the opening day.
They went into the game missing a number of players, including Julio Arca, David Foley and Ibby Hassan.
Northallerton had also been buoyed by a 2-0 victory over Ryhope CW on Monday, which saw them lift the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.
After Andrew Ramsbottom curled an early free-kick wide for the hosts, though, Shields looked the more likely team to score as they aimed to finish on 107 points.
Martyn Coleman saw a powerful header kept out by home goalkeeper Matthew Calvert, which was one of three good first half saves to deny the striker.
Ramsbottom was the most dangerous player at the other end, but the hosts struggled to create clear cut opportunities.
The Mariners thought they had taken the lead when Calvert could only push a Robert Briggs shot out to Leepaul Scroggins, who converted the rebound. However, the offside flag was raised as the sides went in level at half-time.
After the break, Calvert continued to thwart Coleman, while Daryll Hall sent a header over and Briggs curled a free-kick wide.
Just as it seemed Shields might have to settle for a season-ending draw, they struck what would prove to be the winner with 12 minutes left.
Ben Riding delivered a long throw from the left, and long-serving Ramsey flicked the ball into the air before it looped into the net.
Ramsbottom sent an effort wide at the other end under pressure from Danny Carson, but an equaliser always looked unlikely.
The Mariners almost added a second on 87 minutes when substitute Warren Byrne headed a Coleman cross against the crossbar.
However, the champions had already done enough to claim yet another victory and end the campaign in style.
They can now look forward to the summer ahead of returning to action in Northern League Division One next season.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Riding, Hall, Galpin (Byrne 62), Carson, Briggs, Scroggins (c) (Teasdale 46), Ramsey, Coleman, Turner. Sub not used: Richardson.
Goal: Ramsey (78).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
South Shields ended their home campaign in style as they thrashed Willington 5-1 before lifting the league title.
However, the lights almost went out on their title celebrations, with the second half delayed by 15 minutes because of problems with the floodlights.
Shields shone when the match got back underway, with stunning second half strikes from Barrie Smith and Robert Briggs sealing the points.
Over 1,000 fans were at Mariners Park on what was a wet and windy night, and they were warmed up immediately as Shields started brightly.
David Foley went close twice early on as Shields dominated, and then the hosts took the lead on 21 minutes.
Top scorer Warren Byrne miscued a volley on the edge of the box and the ball fell to Martyn Coleman, who made no mistake from close range.
Foley cut a shot narrowly wide almost immediately after the restart, but the Mariners did not have to wait long for goal number two.
It arrived when Briggs sent in a perfect delivery with a corner from the left which was met by Daryll Hall, who nodded it into the net.
Soon after, the floodlights went out, and they were off for almost an hour.
The game continued until half-time, though, and Foley missed a penalty when he hit an effort over after being fouled in the area.
Briggs and Byrne almost made it three, but Willington scored against the run of play through Michael Brown to get back into it.
Byrne hit an effort narrowly over on the stroke of half-time, when there were real fears the game was going to be abandoned because of the floodlights.
However, they came back on six minutes before the cut-off time given by the referee, to much relief.
The game took some time to get back into a rhythm, but Byrne dragged it back into life on 65 minutes when he broke free on the left of the box before firing across the goalkeeper for his 31st goal of the season.
Smith was next on the scoresheet, with a sumptuous effort from 30 yards nestling in the bottom corner as he provided the goal his performance deserved.
Seven minutes before the end, Briggs got in on the act with a terrific strike into the top corner from 25 yards to delight the crowd of 1,014.
Shields then lifted the league championship amid jubilant scenes at Mariners Park.
However, they still have one game left to play this season, with a trip to Northallerton to follow next Wednesday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Riding, Hall (c) (Galpin 69), Carson, Arca (Hassan 46), Foley (Teasdale 60), Briggs, Byrne, Coleman, Turner. Subs not used: Richardson, Ramsey.
Goals: Coleman (21), Hall (32), Byrne (65), Smith (70), Briggs (83).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
South Shields were crowned champions of Ebac Northern League Division Two after a commanding 4-0 win on a triumphant day at Crook Town.
Goals from Daryll Hall, Julio Arca, Warren Byrne and Lewis Teasdale sealed the victory for the Mariners in front of a big away support.
Shields had already sealed promotion after a 1-0 victory at Easington Colliery earlier this month, and will be presented with the championship on Tuesday at the game against Willington at Mariners Park.
They were in control from the start at Crook, with Robert Briggs flashing a shot wide within the first 30 seconds.
The long throws of Ben Riding proved to be a constant threat to the home defence in the first half, and their first warning was fired in the third minute when Michael Turner almost managed to bundle an effort in from a throw.
Crook cleared the ball out of play on Shields’ left, and from the resulting throw, the visitors took the lead.
Riding launched the ball high into the air, and it looped onto the head of Hall inside the area, who made no mistake as he directed into the bottom corner, via the glove of home goalkeeper Ryan Graham.
The weapon of Riding’s throw continued to haunt the home side, with Graham just beating Briggs to the ball from another, while from a Julio Arca corner, Hall headed a decent opportunity over.
It felt that a second goal was inevitable, and Briggs almost provided it when Arca pulled a free-kick from the right back to him, and his effort was tipped onto the bar by Graham.
Crook forays forward were rare, but Scott Pocklington did need to be on hand to keep out a low effort by Shaun Tarling from distance.
The golden opportunities were falling the way of Shields, though, and Martyn Coleman spurned one when Hall flicked the ball onto him in the area, but he could only head over.
Briggs also saw a header kept out, but Shields’ momentum was halted somewhat when captain Leepaul Scroggins was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
They continued to dominate the ball following the introduction of David Foley from the bench, and Arca missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0 when Coleman squeezed the ball through to him, with the former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder only able to cut a shot wide.
An acrobatic effort from Barrie Smith from 30 yards just cleared the crossbar before the Mariners finally built their two-goal advantage five minutes before half-time.
After another long Riding throw from the left, the referee judged that a foul had taken place in the box, and Arca made no mistake from the spot as he rolled the ball past the goalkeeper to give Shields some breathing space.
The Mariners were desperately unlucky not to take a three-goal lead into the break, with Foley having a shot cleared off the line and Michael Turner also denied.
There was still time for Graham to make an acrobatic one-handed save to keep out a Turner effort, and this time the follow-up from Coleman was blocked in front of goal.
It was a half full of positivity for Shields, and there appeared little potential for a home comeback.
Sure enough, any hopes of Crook fighting their way back into the game were extinguished within eight minutes of the restart as Byrne got in behind on the left, showed his strength to beat his man and then rolled the ball between the legs of Graham for his 30th goal of the season.
It was just a matter of how many the visitors would score at that stage, and Foley looked destined to add his name to the scoresheet when he was played in behind on the right following good work from Coleman, but after appearing to be tugged back, his eventual shot was saved.
Riding had a header from close range saved, while substitute Teasdale also nodded wide at the back post and Hall directed an effort just past the post as the Mariners continued to press for a fourth goal.
They were met by good home resistance, though, with Teasdale having a header cleared off the line, Coleman seeing a one-on-one effort kept out by Graham and Smith hitting two shots just over.
Finally, though, the breakthrough came with three minutes remaining, again from the penalty spot. Good work from Coleman got him in behind on the inside-right of the box, and when he was fouled, Teasdale took responsibility, smashing the ball down the centre to complete the scoring.
It capped an excellent afternoon for the Mariners, who then celebrated on the pitch with their supporters amid jubilant scenes at Millfield.
With the trophy to be presented on Tuesday, hopes will be high that a party atmosphere will greet the players at the match against Willington.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Turner, Hall, Carson, Riding, Briggs, Scroggins (c) (Foley 32), Byrne (Ramsey 70), Coleman, Arca (Teasdale 61). Subs not used: Richardson, Hassan.
Goals: Hall (4), Arca (pen 40), Byrne (53), Teasdale (pen 87).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.