South Shields continued their winning form on Saturday as they got the better of Bedlington Terriers at Temple Park Centre.
The Mariners struck twice in the first 10 minutes of the friendly, with Robert Briggs and Leepaul Scroggins both heading in from Wayne Phillips corners.
Bedlington pulled one back a minute before the end of the first half, but Shields continued to have the better of the play.
Warren Byrne wrapped things up in stoppage time with a goal of superb quality as he curled home from 25 yards to send the crowd of about 200 home happy.
The match was arranged following the postponement of Friday’s FA Vase third round tie with Morpeth Town at Consett.
Shields immediately made their intentions clear against their Ebac Northern League Division One opponents as they went on a number of early attacks.
Lewis Teasdale had a shot blocked and Phillips was also denied by a defender after being slid in by Briggs.
In the eighth minute, the deadlock was broken when Phillips’ impressive in-swinging corner from the right was bounced into the air and then headed in by Briggs from close range.
Almost immediately, the Mariners went on the attack again, and won a corner which Phillips again took.
This set-piece was similar, with Phillips swinging it towards the back post, where captain Scroggins was on hand to nod it home.
At that stage, it just seemed to be a matter of how many Shields would score, and a dangerous Adam Sakr cross was just cut out before Teasdale headed wide.
Teasdale then took aim from almost the halfway line, and his superb effort narrowly cleared the crossbar.
The Mariners continued to press home their dominance. Teasdale and Scroggins missed the target with headers, and at the other end, Ibby Hassan was on hand to make a last-ditch tackle when Bedlington threatened to pull a goal back.
Teasdale put the ball in the net on the half-hour mark as he volleyed past the goalkeeper, but his effort was ruled out for a foul by Briggs in the build-up.
Sakr was the next to be denied as he tricked his way in from the left before unleashing a shot which the goalkeeper did well to palm away.
Against the run of play, the Terriers gained a foothold in the match a minute before half-time when Marc Dummett – brother of Newcastle United left-back Paul – curled in a corner from the right which was bundled in by Danny Capewell.
At half-time, Shields made six changes, with John Grey among those brought on as he made his first appearance in claret and blue since joining from North Shields.
He was immediately at the heart of the action, although not in the way he would have wanted.
Bedlington started the second half brightly, with Mariners substitute goalkeeper Gareth Young keeping out a free-kick before the ball was recycled and played back into the box. An overhead kick was attempted, but the ball was missed and Grey took a blow to the head from a high Terriers boot.
The left-back received treatment from Shields physio Andy Morris and was able to play the rest of the game, but afterwards felt dazed and was taken to hospital as a precaution. He is fine, having had very mild concussion.
Despite Bedlington’s decent start after the break, the Mariners took control of the game again, with Paul Kane having several efforts saved, and Hassan striking the bottom of the post from 25 yards.
Briggs also clipped an effort narrowly wide, while Byrne curled one just past the post.
The visiting goalkeeper also denied the striker as he looked set to be kept off the scoresheet.
However, true to form, Byrne did not allow that to be the case.
A minute into stoppage time, he received the ball on his left foot 20 yards out on the left. He slowly worked it onto his right before curling into the top corner majestically to cap off a fine afternoon’s work from the Mariners.
They will hope to return to competitive action on Tuesday, with the FA Vase tie with Morpeth scheduled for a 7.45pm kick-off at Consett.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington (Young 46), Carson, Turner (Grey 46), Hassan (Turner 67), Riding, Smith, Sakr (Bulford 56), Scroggins (c) (Wightman 46), Teasdale (Byrne 46), Briggs (Heptinstall 74), Phillips (Kane 46).
Goals: Briggs (8), Scroggins (10), Byrne (90+1).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
The postponement of Friday’s FA Vase tie between South Shields and Morpeth Town at Consett has led to another weekend without a competitive fixture for the Mariners.
However, Jon King’s side will again be in friendly action on Saturday.
A match has been arranged between the Mariners and Bedlington Terriers, of Ebac Northern League Division One.
It is due to be played on the 3G pitch at Temple Park Centre, of John Reid Road, South Shields, with a 2.30pm kick-off.
Entry to the game is free, and support would be extremely welcome.