Jason Gilchrist and Millenic Alli both got off the mark for South Shields as they netted their first goals for the club in an entertaining pre-season win at Hebburn Town on Tuesday.
Gilchrist scored twice and Alli netted the other as the Mariners went in at half-time 3-1 ahead, and Luke Daly got on the scoresheet in the second half as the away side won 4-3.
It was a decent response to Saturday’s 6-0 defeat at Guiseley for Shields as they returned to winning ways.
Graham Fenton and Lee Picton named a strong side for the South Tyneside derby, with captain Jon Shaw among those to return to the starting line-up.
They were rewarded for a crisp start when they took the lead in just the third minute, with Robert Briggs delivering an inch-perfect corner from the right which was powerfully headed into the corner of the net by Gilchrist.
The advantage was doubled three minutes later when a David Foley cross from the right was dropped by goalkeeper Andrew Jennison, with Alli on hand to turn the loose ball home.
The Hornets pulled one back in the eighth minute as the frantic start to the game continued. The lively Jack Elliott ran down the left flank and delivered a low cross which former Shields striker Graeme Armstrong converted from close range.
Another former Mariner, Michael Richardson, fired over from distance before Shields restored their two-goal lead on the half hour mark.
Foley rolled the ball into the feet of Gilchrist on the inside-left of the box and he turned his man before burying an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner.
Hebburn almost netted their second two minutes before half-time when Elliott got in behind on the left and fired a ball across the box which was met first time by Ben Dibb-Fuller, but Shields goalkeeper Myles Boney brilliantly denied him from point-blank range.
They had another chance to reduce the deficit early in the second half, but this time Elliott rifled a shot over after weaving his way through.
The Hornets did find the net again on the hour mark in bizarre circumstances as Richardson stole the ball in the penalty area, turned and fired past Boney.
He went close to adding his second and levelling the scores soon after, but this time his free-kick from 25 yards went not far wide.
The chances continued to come at both ends and Shields converted their next one, with Gilchrist carrying the ball through the centre and releasing Daly on the inside-right of the area before he beat Jennison.
A third former Shields player, Louis Storey, pulled another goal back eight minutes before the end for Hebburn but the hosts were unable to force an equaliser in the closing stages.
The Mariners will continue their pre-season preparations on Saturday when they host Dunston in a farewell game for club legend Barrie Smith.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Brown (Thompson 64), Adams (Charlton 74), Shaw (c) (Wokoma 52), Trialist, Briggs (Lowe 69), Foley (Daly 46), Thurston, Gilchrist, Mason (Turnbull 69), Alli (Wright 46).
Goals: Gilchrist (3, 30), Alli (6), Daly (72).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.
Exciting forward Millenic Alli has become South Shields’ second summer signing.
The 19-year-old follows Adam Thurston through the doors at Mariners Park and will be introduced to his new team-mates at the opening pre-season training session, at Harton Welfare on Saturday.
The former Bury FC youngster impressed Shields joint managers Graham Fenton and Lee Picton in two trial matches earlier this summer, so much so that they were eager to sign him up.
A deal has now been agreed with the Dublin-born teenager, who is raring to go as he moves to South Tyneside from the Lancashire area.
Alli – who played senior football for Padiham last season – said: “I’m very happy to have signed for South Shields and can’t wait to get going.
“I’ve spoken to the managers and they told me all about the plans here, and the faith they have in my ability.
“This is a long way away from home for me, so I’ve not come here to mess about.
“I can’t wait to get started in pre-season and get fitter so I can kick on again.
“The club has done well over the last few years with plenty of promotions, so the club is going somewhere and I want to be part of that.
“Everyone’s ambition here is to get the club as far as it can possibly go.”
South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: “We are really excited to bring Millenic to the club.
“He has taken part in two trial games during the off-season and he really impressed us on both occasions.
“South Shields supporters can look forward to seeing an exciting, skilful forward player who likes to take people on and create and score goals.
“We have also been impressed with the defensive duties Millenic undertakes as a forward.
“He has a good grasp of his defensive role and is also very good one-on-one defending from the front.
“He is also a very strong player and is able to hold off defenders, and he possesses lots of potential that we are really looking forward to tapping into.
“Even though he is only 19, he has played quite a few games at senior level which will have done him the world of good.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing Millenic play senior football at a higher level with us.”