South Shields 5-1 Willington: Mariners lift league championship
South Shields ended their home campaign in style as they thrashed Willington 5-1 before lifting the league title on Tuesday.
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.