South Shields ended 2018 on a high with a comfortable win over Workington at Mariners Park on Saturday.

Shields made it 10 wins out of 10 at home in the league with a 4-1 victory over the Cumbrian side in front of a crowd of more than 1,500.

The Mariners dominated possession but had to work hard for their chances, and they had only a Lee Mason goal to show for their efforts at half-time.

They pressed ahead after the break, though, with strikes from Nathan Lowe, Robert Briggs and substitute Josh Gillies sealing the three points before Workington pulled one back late on.

The result moved Shields up a place to fourth in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, eight points behind leaders Nantwich Town with three games in hand.

Workington were a tough nut to crack at Mariners Park, belying their second-bottom league position.

But it was Shields who started on the front foot, with Lowe forcing goalkeeper Aaran Taylor into a smart stop early on with a 25 yard drive.

The game sprung into life in the 12th minute when David Foley produced an impressive turn just inside the Workington half and played the ball to Mason, who beat his defender before stroking it into the bottom corner for his fifth goal in three games.

The Reds occasionally threatened an equaliser, and the closest they came followed a well-worked move down the right and a header by Kieran Maguire which Jon Shaw had to hook to safety.

The goal-saver almost turned goalscorer soon after when Shaw met a Briggs corner at the near post, but his header was saved well by Taylor.

Shields almost doubled their advantage on 22 minutes when Lowe wriggled his way into the area before the ball was diverted to Mason, whose goalbound effort was kicked away by Taylor.

The Mariners were mainly restricted to shots from distance in the remainder of the first half, and were almost pegged back on the stroke of half-time when a Scott Allison effort was deflected just wide and Liam Connell clawed the ball to safety from the resulting corner.

Workington’s impressive efforts continued into the second half and they had two more opportunities to level, with Dillon Morse doing well to block from Jordan Holt and Daniel Wordsworth heading another presentable chance over.

The Cumbrians were thwarted on 57 minutes, though, when a free-kick from just outside the area by Lowe took a deflection before nestling in the top corner to double Shields’ lead.

It was Lowe’s first goal for the club, and made him the 500th different player to score for the Mariners since their reformation in 1974.

Foley had a superb afternoon and was at the heart of Shields’ third goal as he advanced into the penalty area before being fouled.

On his 27th birthday and his 200th appearance for the club, Briggs stepped up to rattle home a low penalty to put the result beyond any doubt.

The hosts’ fourth goal came 12 minutes from the end when Taylor miscued a clearance and Shields academy prospect Callum Guy latched onto the loose ball before showing good composure to pick out fellow substitute Gillies, who made no mistake from close range.

The Mariners were threatening to run riot and almost scored again after Gillies sprinted in behind on the right and fired a low ball into the box which just evaded Mason and Guy.

Workington showed good character to respond in the latter stages and after Sean Patterson went close, they did pull a goal back when Conor Tinnion drifted in from the right before rifling a low effort beyond the reach of Connell.

It was to prove no more than a consolation goal, though.

Teenager Guy was making an impressive cameo for Shields and his brightest moment saw him waltz through the Workington defence before being fouled, with the referee judging the infringement had taken place just outside the penalty area. Taylor did well to keep out Lowe’s resulting free-kick.

A final chance saw another substitute Gary Brown smash a shot against the post as Shields settled for a 4-1 victory which keeps them in the promotion mix heading into 2019.

They will kick-off the New Year with a home game against North Ferriby United on New Year’s Day.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Lough, Shaw (c) (Brown 74), Morse, Turnbull (Guy 74), Foley, Briggs, Mason, Finnigan (Gillies 69), Lowe. Subs not used: Adams.

Goals: Mason (12), Lowe (57), Briggs (pen 68), Gillies (78).

Attendance: 1,501.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.

South Shields could hand a debut to new signing Nathan Lowe when they host Wearside League side West Auckland Tunns in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday.

Lowe has been registered in time to be named in the squad for the 7.30pm kick-off at Mariners Park.

Should he be selected, the former FC United of Manchester and Southport player is expected to line up alongside a mixture of youth and experience.

Admission prices are £5 for adults, £2 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s.

Shields won the competition two seasons ago and lost on penalties at the quarter-final stage against Hartlepool United last time out.

Joint manager Lee Picton is calling on his team to build on Saturday’s 1-0 win against Gainsborough Trinity, with Tuesday’s game to be followed by an FA Trophy tie against North Ferriby United on Saturday.

He said: “We’ve talked about building on the really good things we did in Saturday’s game and trying to establish a bit of momentum as a side.

“If we put back-to-back wins together going into the FA Trophy game, that can only be a good thing.

“We’ll be shuffling the pack and bringing people in who need some game-time, but at the same time it will be an exercise in hopefully building confidence as well.

“We’ve got to apply ourselves in the right way in the game, otherwise it could have the opposite effect for us.

“We’ve got to make sure we stay on an upward trend.”

South Shields squad (from): Cameron Armstrong, Dan Lister, Ethan Biwer, Gary Brown, Darren Lough, Jordan Patterson, Olly Scott, Callum Guy, Bailey Judson, Nathan Lowe, Karl Ross, Daniel Wright, Michael Colquhoun, Carl Finnigan, Ben Harmison, Lee Mason.

South Shields FC is delighted to announce the signing of midfielder Nathan Lowe, subject to FA clearance.

Lowe, formerly of FC United of Manchester, Southport and Spennymoor Town, is highly thought of in the game and his signing is a real coup for the club.

He started his career with Burnley before making his first steps into the senior game with FC United, for whom he played against South Shields in a pre-season friendly last year.

The 22-year-old has spent all of his senior days so far in the National League North, and is excited about his new challenge.

Lowe watched his new team-mates from the stands as the Mariners defeated Gainsborough Trinity 1-0 on Saturday.

The central midfielder said: “I’m delighted to be here.

“It’s a massive club, and when I got the call it was a bit of a no-brainer to come here and play for this great club.

“The facilities are great, the pitch is outstanding and the team plays a fantastic style of football, which suits me.

“The managers have the same philosophy as me.

“I want to be in a footballing team which wants to play the right way.

“We’ve obviously got to mix it in these leagues because it’s tough physically, but the managers seem like footballing men and that suits me.”

Lowe has a reputation for scoring long range goals, having netted a number of stunners over recent seasons.

He is based in Wigan, but insists travelling will not be a problem.

He added: “It’s about two hours for me.

“I thought it was going to be longer and Saturday was my first time up.

“It’s do-able, and when the opportunity came to play for this club, travelling or no travelling I wanted to be here.

“I had to take this opportunity.”

Lowe was part of the FC United of Manchester team beaten 3-0 at Mariners Park last July.

It is a match which has stayed in his mind, and played a part in his decision to make the move.

He said: “We were battered 3-0.

“The team then was in the league below and they absolutely passed us off the park.

“Since then I’ve thought ‘wow, that club is going places’.

“When Lee (Picton) called, it was my main intention to come here.

“I really wanted to come and play for him and play for this club.”

Picture by Kev Wilson.