South Shields 5-0 Kendal Town: Stylish display from champions
Champions South Shields reached the 100-point mark for the third season in a row as a clinical display secured a 5-0 win over Kendal Town on Thursday.
The Mariners – who had already sealed the Evo-Stik North title two days earlier – demonstrated just why they had won the league in a superb first half performance.
Goals from Lee Mason, Graeme Armstrong, Carl Finnigan and an own goal by Paul Dawson put them four ahead before half-time, and Armstrong struck again towards the end to complete another thumping victory.
Kendal initially started the brighter of the two teams until Shields took the lead in the seventh minute.
Finnigan hit an effort from the edge of the box which former Mariners goalkeeper Josh Richardson pushed away, but Mason was on hand to sweep the ball home with a composed finish.
A visibly confident Mason had a chance to make it two soon after when he came inside from the left flank before firing a shot which was well blocked.
Within seconds of that, though, Shields did extend their advantage.
A wonderful flowing move led to Michael Richardson receiving the ball in some space on the right of the box, and his inch-perfect cross was powered in by the head of Armstrong from close range.
The third goal arrived on 26 minutes when Armstrong touched the ball through for Finnigan, and he took full advantage as he drove it into the bottom corner with a superb finish from just outside the area.
Shields were threatening to run riot as they celebrated their title win in front of their home fans.
Craig Baxter hit an effort over from distance and Louis Storey drilled an effort not far wide as they kept up the pressure.
The Mariners got their reward five minutes before half-time when Storey got in on the inside-right of the area before fizzing a ball into the danger area.
It cannoned against the unfortunate Dawson and into the corner of the net as the points were made well and truly safe.
With another game to come on Saturday, Shields were less potent after the break, with the team content to hold possession.
But they did find the net again 10 minutes before the end as a Robert Briggs corner from the left was headed in by Armstrong from six yards as he netted his fifth goal in three games.
Shields are at home to Colne on Saturday as they celebrate another superb season in front of what looks set to be a bumper Mariners Park crowd.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Pattison, Lough (Holmes 46), Morse, Storey, Richardson, Briggs (c) (Juul 67), Armstrong, Finnigan, Mason (Smith 59). Subs not used: Lister, Sullivan.
Goals: Mason (7), Armstrong (10, 80), Finnigan (26), Dawson (own goal 40).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: