The club can confirm the departure of Michael Richardson after it was decided not to extend his contract at Mariners Park.

Richardson joined South Shields from Blyth Spartans in November 2016 and went on to make 69 appearances for the club, scoring 20 goals.

The club would like to thank him for his superb efforts and wish him all the best for the future.

Joint manager Lee Picton said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Michael since he joined the club.

“He has played an important role in our successes over the last two seasons and it was an extremely difficult decision not to offer him a contract extension.

“We are sure he will be an asset to his next club and wish him all the best for the future.”

South Shields secured a third successive league championship in style as they won 4-0 at Radcliffe to wrap up the Evo-Stik North Division title with two games to spare.

The Mariners moved onto an unassailable total of 97 points with a composed performance in difficult conditions at Stainton Park.

Gavin Cogdon headed them into the lead midway through the first half, and Michael Richardson doubled the advantage shortly after the hosts had been reduced to 10 men in the second period.

Darren Lough’s dismissal for two bookings soon after left both teams a man light, and although Radcliffe enjoyed a decent spell, Shields held firm and put their foot on the accelerator in the closing stages as substitute Graeme Armstrong scored a brace.

It was another superb win in a season which has been full of them as the Mariners were able to enjoy and celebrate another terrific achievement.

Their victory at Radcliffe was rarely in doubt, although the game itself was in question beforehand after heavy rain left the pitch sodden.

The officials passed the surface fit to play as Shields were given the chance to wrap up the title.

They started superbly, and had two huge opportunities to open the scoring in the first six minutes.

Carl Finnigan was played clean through on goal for the first of them, but clipped the ball wide, and when Michael Richardson was presented with a similar chance soon after, he was denied by a low save from home goalkeeper Connor Keane.

Gavin Cogdon was the next to go close, hammering an effort against a defender and then the crossbar as the Mariners continued to pressurise their opponents.

A number of further half-chances also came and went before Cogdon opened the scoring midway through the first half.

Finnigan sent in a terrific cross from the right and Cogdon stooped low to head it home and get the party started.

Shields – already assured of promotion – were unable to add to their tally before half-time, and saw their chances boosted two minutes into the second half when Radcliffe’s Rick Smith was given a straight red card for a poor challenge on Cogdon.

Cogdon and Robert Briggs both went close to extending the Mariners’ advantage.

But it was Richardson who would add their second as he controlled a Craig Baxter ball forward before brilliantly picking out the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The game turned slightly when Shields’ Darren Lough was sent off for a second yellow card 20 minutes before the end, and the hosts enjoyed their best spell.

Louis Myers hit the post and Liam Connell was forced into a number of saves as he did well to deny Jordan Boves, Myers and James Cooper.

Shields motored on again in the closing stages, and substitute Graeme Armstrong made it three when, after seeing his initial shot saved, he slid the ball home.

Armstrong was to have the final say, too, as he was played in on the right of the box before slotting it past Keane in front of the Mariners’ buoyant travelling supporters.

Shields are back in action on Thursday, with a party atmosphere sure to greet them at Mariners Park for the visit of Kendal Town.

They will complete their season with another home game, against Colne on Saturday.

The celebrations are only just beginning.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Lough, Shaw (c), Morse, Storey, Pattison (Holmes 66), Briggs, Cogdon (Armstrong 55), Finnigan, Richardson. Subs not used: Ross, Juul, Sullivan.

Goals: Cogdon (23), Richardson (57), Armstrong (87, 90+1).

Attendance: 218.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.

South Shields’ Integro Cup challenge ended at the semi-final stage as a late fightback was unable to prevent them slipping to a 3-2 defeat against Coalville Town on Thursday.

Shields – who fielded four academy prospects from the start at Mariners Park – had some good moments against their Evo-Stik Premier Division opponents.

However, after falling 3-1 behind they left themselves too much to do in the closing stages and just failed to force a penalty shoot-out.

They got off to the worst possible start, with Daniel Creaney giving the visitors the lead inside the first two minutes when the ball broke to him in the box and he made no mistake.

Dean Freeman headed over from a corner soon after as Coalville looked to press ahead with their advantage.

The Mariners fought back well after that, and Aksel Juul and Dan Lowther had sighters of goal as they gained a foothold.

Shields got their reward in the 19th minute as a terrific through ball from Ethan Biwer found Michael Richardson, who rounded the keeper and slotted home.

Coalville responded well, and Cleveland Taylor struck the post with an effort from the right before Paul Woolston was forced into an impressive double save from Alex Howes and Creaney.

Jon Shaw had to clear a further shot off the line and Woolston made two more good saves as the visitors kept up the pressure.

They went back in front four minutes into the second half when Nathan Watson slotted in from the inside left of the box.

Richardson was one of Shields’ biggest threats, and he had a chance to equalise again, but his low effort was kept out by goalkeeper Elliott Taylor.

Coalville had some chances to go further ahead, the best of which saw a Danny Jenno header cleared off the line by Alex Nicholson.

They then struck what looked set to be a killer blow when Watson fired in his second via the crossbar.

Woolston made a good double save to keep the deficit at two before Shields rallied in an attempt to launch a late comeback.

They pulled one goal back when a Richardson free-kick from 25 yards took a huge deflection before nestling in the top corner.

There were opportunities for Shields to level, and they looked like they had done just that with five minutes left when a defender headed into his own net, but the flag controversially went up for offside.

A further golden opportunity fell to substitute Graeme Armstrong, but he fired over from close range.

Shields return to league action on Saturday when they host Colwyn Bay in a 3pm kick-off.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Woolston, Nicholson, Biwer, Shaw (c), Storey, Ross, Richardson, Lowther (Kavanagh 74), Sullivan, Guy (Finnigan 66), Juul (Armstrong 78). Subs not used: Connell, Patterson.

Goals: Richardson (19, 75).

Attendance: 908.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.