The club can confirm the departure of Gavin Cogdon following the completion of his contract.

Cogdon leaves with a record of 56 goals in 107 appearances, and he played a part in five trophy wins during his three-year spell at Mariners Park.

The striker joined from Spennymoor Town in the summer of 2016 and leaves us with a great deal of happy memories, from his League Cup final hat-trick against North Shields in 2017 to his dramatic late winner against York City in the FA Cup later that year.

The club would like to thank him for his immense contribution over the last three years and wish him all the best for the future.

The club can also confirm it has decided to release Connor Bell.

The striker joined on a short-term deal in February, and went on to score one goal in 12 appearances.

We would also like to thank Connor for his efforts and endeavour in the short period he spent with the club, and wish him all the best for the future.

Further news will be released following the conclusion of individual discussions with the entirety of the current squad.

South Shields won their fifth game on the bounce as they continued their Evo-Stik Premier Division title bid on Saturday.

Shields defeated Hednesford Town 4-1 at Mariners Park to stay a point behind Farsley Celtic at the top of the table.

Nathan Lowe put them ahead in the first half and two goals from Robert Briggs, along with Connor Bell’s first for the club, made the points safe in the second half.

The Mariners named an unchanged line-up from the team which triumphed 3-1 at Marine a week earlier, and after a quiet start to the game, they entered the ascendancy.

The match burst into life in the ninth minute as Lowe continued his excellent goalscoring form with another fine strike.

He picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal, took it past a defender and rifled an effort into the bottom corner from just outside the box on the right.

It was Lowe’s ninth goal in 16 appearances for the Mariners and gave Shields the perfect platform to dominate possession for most of the first half.

Hednesford undoubtedly carried a threat, though, as they displayed why they went into the match with much confidence themselves, having won four and drawn two of their previous six games.

Despite that, they almost fell further behind on 27 minutes as Briggs tried to catch out goalkeeper Jake Weaver with a free-kick which he aimed at his near post, but the Hednesford stopper just managed to push the ball onto the post before saving a follow-up by Jon Shaw.

The Pitmen had half-chances of their own in a first half which was lacking in any further real goalmouth action, with Kieran Wells proving to be their biggest threat, but he was off target with two efforts.

The closest they came to levelling was a shot from 12 yards by Reece King which Liam Connell did well to push to safety with a fine reaction stop.

Shields returned for the second half with renewed vigour and extended their lead in the 52nd minute as Bell latched onto a flicked header by Briggs and, with Weaver advancing, he slotted the ball under the goalkeeper to score a much-deserved first goal for the club.

The Mariners went on to have their best spell of the game as they set about making the points safe.

They went close to making it three almost immediately as Bell turned provider, stealing the ball high up the pitch before teeing up Briggs, whose drive was beaten away by Weaver.

Weaver was powerless to prevent the third Shields goal before the hour mark, though, as a Lowe corner from the right was half-cleared and then played back to him by Shaw, and he sent in a terrific low cross which Briggs turned in from close range.

Hednesford pulled a goal back in the 67th minute as a corner was bundled in by Brad Wells, offering them a glimmer of a lifeline.

Shields were soon creating chances again and almost restored their three-goal lead as a pass was threaded through to Luke Daly and he was denied by a good Weaver save.

The Mariners were given a golden opportunity to score their fourth when Phil Turnbull was brought down on the left of the penalty area, and Briggs stepped up to convert from the spot and score his 16th goal of the season.

With the game now won, Shields were able to relax in the closing stages as another three points were chalked off.

With Farsley Celtic and Warrington Town both picking up maximum points elsewhere, though, it was as you were at the top of the table.

Shields will hope to register another victory on Tuesday when they travel to Workington.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Adams (Lough 61), Shaw (c), Morse, Turnbull, Daly, Briggs, Mason (Cogdon 61), Lowe, Bell (Gillies 79). Subs not used: Mouanda, Foley.

Goals: Lowe (9), Bell (52), Briggs (58, pen 77).

Attendance: 1,214.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.

South Shields FC is delighted to announce the signing of former Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker Connor Bell.

The forward has been training with Shields over recent weeks and has now received international clearance to complete his move to Mariners Park.

The 22-year-old was most recently on the books of Scottish Championship side Greenock Morton, who he departed last month.

He came through the ranks of Sunderland’s academy before spells at Rotherham United, Wrexham, Rhyl, Swiss side Servette, Inverness and Greenock Morton.

Bell is excited about the challenge ahead at Shields after being impressed by the ambition of joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton.

He said: “I had a bit of interest elsewhere, but I got in touch with the managers here and you could tell straightaway how ambitious they were for the club.

“They invited me to training so I saw the quality of the lads and I’ve been to the last few games.

“With the ambition of the fans, the managers and the players, you can tell it’s a club that’s going places.

“It was a no-brainer, really.”

Bell won the Scottish Challenge Cup with Inverness last season, playing in the final against Dumbarton.

He scored seven goals for the club last term before moving on to Greenock Morton.

The striker spoke with former Sunderland team-mate Jordan Blinco – once on the books of the Mariners – before signing on the dotted line.

He added: “I was away from home for a long time playing football but I always liked to keep an eye on how all the local teams were doing.

“One of my friends, Jordan Blinco, was here a couple of years ago and he only had good things to say about the place.

“He said it was a club going places and it has kicked on again since he left.

“He told me about how the managers were and I got the same first impression when I met them.

“It’s a club that’s going places and I’ve found that already.”

Bell is available to make his Shields debut away to Bamber Bridge on Saturday as they look to get their promotion bid back on track after three games without a win.

He insists he is ready to play whenever he is called upon.

He said: “I became a free agent in January but I’ve been doing my own bits and I’ve been training with the lads here, so I feel that I’m ready to go whenever the managers want to stick me in.

“It killed me having to watch the game on Saturday because I thought we were unlucky.

“Hopefully this weekend the gaffers will take a chance on me and I’ll do the business.”