South Shields extended their 100% away record as three goals in five first half minutes guided them on their way to a 4-0 win at Radcliffe on Tuesday.
The Mariners were in command from the start at the Neuven Stadium but had no lead to show for their dominance until Ntumba Massanka struck just before the half-hour mark.
That prompted further goals in the minutes which followed from Darius Osei and Conor Tee, with Osei wrapping up the scoring late in the game to move Shields two points clear at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
It was a second trip to Greater Manchester in four days for Graham Fenton’s side following Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Hyde United.
Robert Briggs and Alex Kempster were introduced to the starting line-up in place of Jon Shaw and Will Jenkins and Shields established control from the outset, with Kempster at the heart of much of their brightest play in a left wing-back role.
He created the first opportunity of the game as he motored down the flank and delivered a cross which Massanka fired wide at the near post.
That was a sign of things to come as Shields pressured the Radcliffe goal. Osei was the next to eye an opener after being released down the right of the box, but he dragged his shot wide.
The Mariners looked in confident mood and that feeling was intensified in the 26th minute when Kempster drove inside from the left and slipped the ball to Massanka, whose composed finish opened the scoring.
That was the cue for the floodgates to open as Shields put their hosts to the sword.
The lead was quickly doubled after some excellent play by Will McGowan, who carried the ball through the centre and found Osei on the inside-left channel. He fainted to go inside before switching the ball onto his left foot and powering a low effort through the legs of goalkeeper Cameron Belford.
The away side sensed an opportunity to kill the game off and they effectively did that just beyond the half-hour mark when Callum Ross played in Tee and his shot from the right of the area arrowed into the bottom corner to put his team three goals to the good.
There were opportunities for a fourth in the closing stages of the first half, but the lively Kempster was denied by an interception and Adams’ strike was blocked.
Shields picked up where they left off in the first minute of the second half as Kempster rounded Belford and saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line. He chased the loose ball and was subsequently fouled by Belford, who breathed a sigh of relief when Robert Briggs sent the resulting penalty wide.
At the end of the match, Shields were left to reflect on a number of chances which went begging and could have made the scoreline even more convincing.
The closest they came was in the 56th minute as Blair Adams tricked his way past several players before finding Osei, who scuffed an effort which was cleared off the line in bizarre circumstances by Joseph Cummings, who was on the floor but kept the ball out with his head. The Mariners kept it alive and Belford saved well from Tee to keep the home side’s deficit at three.
Massanka was denied a second goal by a block while at the other end, Rod Orlando-Young fired in a rocket from the left flank which rattled Myles Boney’s crossbar.
Bobby Grant also went close for the hosts with a free-kick which found the side netting, but Shields continued to create most of the openings.
They went close again when Briggs whipped a trademark free-kick towards the top corner, only for Belford to brilliantly tip it onto the bar.
The final say was provided by Osei, who outmuscled his man on the left and cut inside before hitting a sweet strike which took a deflection on its way past Belford and into the corner.
Substitute Sam Hodgson could have added his name to the scoresheet in the closing stages, but Belford was equal to his effort.
The Mariners will look to continue their fine form when they travel to Marske United in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Briggs, Adams (c) (Shaw 60), Ross, Morse, Bodenham, Osei, McGowan (Jenkins 73), Massanka (Hodgson 83), Tee, Kempster. Subs not used: Steavens, Rossiter.
Goals: Massanka (26), Osei (29, 87), Tee (31).
Late goals from Darius Osei and Blair Adams sealed South Shields’ passage into the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup as they saw off the challenge of a plucky Shildon side at Dean Street.
The Mariners were a goal up and looking comfortable after Conor Tee picked out the top corner with a sumptuous strike on 17 minutes.
Shildon equalised from a corner later in the first half, though, and it was not until the closing stages that the Mariners re-established control to secure a 3-1 win.
Osei scored the vital third goal of the game as part of a bright cameo from the bench and Adams had the final say as he prodded home at the back post from a low Jordan Hunter cross.
Graham Fenton named a strong Shields line-up to face a Shildon side which had enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season following their promotion from the Northern League.
The youth of Will Jenkins and Sam Hodgson were supplemented by the experience of Jon Shaw and Alex Kempster as part of four changes from the team which started the victory at Scarborough Athletic five days earlier, with Nathan Lowe and Callum Ross missing out through injury and strike duo Osei and Ntumba Massanka named among the substitutes.
They quickly hit their stride and Tee made his intentions known from the first whistle, hurdling two challenges before seeing his effort from 20 yards drift wide just 30 seconds in.
The Mariners appeared determined to test Shaun Newbrook in the Shildon goal and the first to sting his palms was Hunter with 25 yard drive which the goalkeeper pushed away.
Jenkins, Robert Briggs and Hodgson also threatened in the early exchanges while at the other end, Myles Boney got his body behind a powerful David Atkinson strike to maintain parity.
Tee was at the heart of much of Shields’ best work and his confidence was clear as he looked to score for the fourth consecutive game. He tried to catch Newbrook out with a dipping attempt from long range which moved in the air, but he was equal to the effort.
The next time Tee took aim, though, there was no keeping it out.
Adams played a pass inside from the left channel and Tee shifted his weight onto his right side before taking a touch and caressing the ball into the top corner from 25 yards to continue his outstanding scoring streak.
That gave Shields a 17th minute lead which was warranted given their dominance in the possession and territory stakes, and Tee looked like he might make it a quickfire double when Jenkins bypassed the Shildon midfield with a delightful ball over the top, but as he readied himself to shoot an unfortunate stumble allowed the defence time to recover and his eventual effort was blocked.
Dillon Morse was the next to go close as his header from a Briggs corner was cleared off the line. However, a second goal proved elusive for the visitors.
Shildon equalised against the run of play 11 minutes before half-time from a Joe Posthill corner. His delivery from the right was headed against the bar by Michael Sweet before Briggs nodded it against his own woodwork, and in the scramble which followed, Atkinson became the latest to strike the crossbar but this time the ball bounced down and beyond the line.
Shields were not as fluid as they had been in the early stages but did create three opportunities to go back in front before half-time, with Kempster narrowly failing to convert an Adams cross, Tee striking wide from outside the area and Morse going close with his own attempt from long range.
The Railwaymen frustrated Shields in the second half as they showed considerable improvements. Former Shields Academy player and loanee Will McCamley was a threat on the left flank and he had a decent opportunity within two minutes of the restart, but his shot went comfortably past the post.
Kempster’s final action before being replaced by Osei was a cross which Hunter controlled with his right before striking with his left, forcing Newbrook into a decent save.
Osei was introduced alongside Massanka shortly after the hour but they almost saw their side fall behind when Posthill’s corner fell to Atkinson in the six-yard box, but this time he could not find the net as his effort on the turn cleared the crossbar.
Boney saved from Posthill later in the half while Newbrook denied Massanka, with the tie seemingly heading for a replay as the sides remained locked at 1-1 going into the final 10 minutes.
Substitute Will McGowan almost changed that narrative for the Mariners soon after coming on, driving forward before unleashing a low strike from the edge of the box which struck the post.
The woodwork at that end of the ground had taken a pounding over the course of the game and it was hit again by Osei when he headed Hunter’s cross against it with six minutes left. Osei sensed the chance had not gone, though, and chased the loose ball out to the left channel before beating his man and sending in what appeared to be a cross with his left foot. Yet again, it cannoned against the post but this time it bounced beyond the line and into the opposite side netting to nudge Shields’ noses in front.
Shildon goalkeeper Newbrook was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident in the moments which followed but the home side’s challenge was not over, with Boney called on to make a vital save a minute into stoppage time from a Dean Thexton header.
As stoppage time ticked into a sixth minute and the Mariners advanced up the field, their progression into the next round looked all but assured but they added the third goal to make sure of it with almost the final kicks of the game.
Impressive hold-up play by Massanka released Hunter just outside the six-yard box on the right of the area and he squared it for his fellow wing-back Adams, who drove home his fourth goal of the season to give the travelling support some more to shout about.
Shields – who are at home to Ashton United in the league on Tuesday – now look forward to Monday’s draw for the second qualifying round.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, Jenkins (McGowan 78), Briggs (c), Hodgson (Massanka 63), Tee, Kempster (Osei 63). Subs not used: Steavens, Rossiter.
Goals: Tee (17), Osei (84), Adams (90+6).
Image: Kev Wilson.
South Shields made it five wins from six as they produced a stellar performance to beat Scarborough Athletic at the Flamingo Land Stadium.
First half goals from Darius Osei and Conor Tee ensured the Mariners returned from North Yorkshire with maximum points to show for their Bank Holiday efforts.
Backed by a large and vociferous travelling support, Shields produced their finest display of the season so far to move to the top of the early Pitching In Northern Premier League table.
It took just eight minutes for the away side to open the scoring, and it was a goal which had been coming.
They had already twice almost taken the lead, with first Tee denied at point-blank range by former Shields loanee Ryan Whitley following a cross from Jordan Hunter.
Whitley then kept Ntumba Massanka off the scoresheet as the frontman raced through on goal and looked certain to score. His powerful low effort struck the outstretched hand of Whitley, whose contact on the ball was just strong enough to prevent a goal.
Massanka was at the heart of the breakthrough when it arrived less than a minute later. Osei prodded the ball through to him and as he again found himself one-on-one with Whitley, this time he decided to square to Osei, who had kept running after his initial pass. He finished first time into the roof of the net to the delight of the big contingent of Shields fans behind the goal.
Scarborough struggled to contain the Mariners as they continued their turbo-charged start to the game and a second goal almost arrived on 11 minutes as the excellent Hunter drove inside from the right before unleashing a left foot rifle which Whitley did brilliantly to turn around the post.
The Seadogs went into the match unbeaten and showcased the first sign of their attacking talent when Nathan Cartman’s strike from the edge of the box was brilliantly blocked by Dillon Morse, who stood firm throughout.
Shields’ early momentum was punctured in the 14th minute, with Nathan Lowe pulling up with a hamstring injury. It was an undoubted blow but his replacement Will Jenkins softened it somewhat with an outstanding display full of grit, maturity and a smattering of flair.
The initial period after Lowe’s withdrawal proved to be the most testing of the match for Graham Fenton’s side, but Scarborough were unable to find a way past Myles Boney.
After Jack Bodenham blocked from Will Thornton, Boney produced a superb reaction stop after Ryan Watson flashed an effort through a sea of bodies, with the Shields goalkeeper later getting strong hands on a strike from distance by James Cadman to maintain his team’s advantage.
The home side’s only opportunities were arriving via set-pieces taken by Watson, but Shields refused to be breached and protected Boney’s goal well before going up a gear in the closing stages of the first half to seize control.
They almost went two goals ahead six minutes before half-time when Osei ghosted into space down the left of the area and struck a low shot which Whitley kicked onto the post.
The Mariners did not have to wait too much longer to double their lead, though, and it came after terrific pressing on the right channel by Hunter. He robbed Ashley Jackson of possession before sweeping the ball across to Massanka, who took a touch and laid it off for the excellently placed Tee. An unerring finish past Whitley was the clinical end to the move Shields had been searching for and saw Tee make it three goals in as many games.
Michael Coulson had an opportunity to half Scarborough’s deficit on the stroke of half-time but his attempt from a Watson free-kick was off-target and Shields ended the half more than satisfied with their efforts.
Boro had a presentable opportunity within two minutes of the restart as substitute Kieran Weledji got on the end of another free-kick. He struck the side netting with his shot.
The points should have been made safe by Shields moments later. Massanka stole the ball midway inside his own half and Tee then advanced it to Hunter, who had a clean run on goal. Similarly to the example set by Massanka in the first half, he progressed into dangerous territory before squaring to Osei, but this time he could not produce the finish to match the move and the ball squirmed wide.
Scarborough were unable to take advantage of their reprieve and in fact, it was the Mariners who continued to present the bigger threat.
Whitley denied Osei with his feet and also did well to keep out a header by Bodenham, while only a last-ditch tackle prevented substitute Alex Kempster having a strike at goal after a sweeping counter-attack.
The Seadogs failed to seriously test Boney in the closing stages as the travelling support serenaded the Shields players, who saw things out with impressive assurance to leapfrog Buxton to top spot on goal difference.
It was a memorable afternoon for the Mariners on and off the pitch ahead of their short break from league action.
Their next fixture is away to Shildon in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Ross, Morse, Bodenham, Osei (Hodgson 82), Briggs (c), Massanka (Kempster 62), Lowe (Jenkins 14), Tee. Subs not used: McGowan, Rossiter.
Goals: Osei (8), Tee (40).
Image: Kev Wilson.