South Shields progressed to the second round of the Integro Cup with a comfortable 4-0 win at Tadcaster Albion on Tuesday.
Lee Mason fired the Mariners into a first half lead which they stretched in the second half with strikes from Jason Gilchrist, Robert Briggs and Jordan Annear.
Shields handed first starts to goalkeeper Ross Coombe and striker Annear at the i2i Stadium, and they were part of a strong line-up as five changes were made to the team which won 2-1 at Matlock Town three days earlier.
They started on the front foot, where they would stay for the remainder of the first round tie.
The Mariners almost took the lead as early as the fifth minute as a free-kick from deep on the right by Adam Thurston hit the leg of home goalkeeper Aaron Burn and fizzed to Gilchrist, who diverted the ball inches past the post.
Thurston and Annear also had efforts at goal before the Mariners opened the scoring on 25 minutes.
Briggs collected the ball in midfield and sprayed a tremendous ball forward which Mason controlled on his chest before rifling into the top corner via the crossbar.
Shields had a number of opportunities in the latter stages of the half, but were unable to add to the scoring.
Dillon Morse was denied at point-blank range by Burn after a Briggs corner fell to him and a goalbound effort from Mason was deflected wide after impressive work on the right by Jordan Hunter.
The visitors would have to wait until the 56th minute to extend their advantage.
The goal arrived following a well-worked move from left to right which concluded as Annear played the ball across the area to Gilchrist, who slammed it into the roof of the net from close range.
Shields suffered a blow soon after that as a hamstring injury forced Gilchrist’s withdrawal, but his replacement Millenic Alli had a superb impact from the bench as the tie was put to bed.
He won a penalty within a minute of being brought on as he beat his man brilliantly on the left and was then fouled in the area, and although Burn got a hand to Briggs’ spot-kick, he could not prevent it squeezing past him and into his right-hand corner.
Marcel Chigumira could have pulled a goal back for the home side within two minutes of that, but Coombe was on hand to deny him with his legs.
Shields continued to play some fine football and almost earned another reward as some fine play by Annear played in Briggs, who tremendously beat his man before forcing a decent stop from Burn.
The fourth goal to conclude proceedings arrived seven minutes before the end as Alli produced some superb skill to beat a defender on the right of the box before showing impressive composure to play the ball to Annear, who slotted home for his first goal in a Shields shirt.
The Mariners will look to continue their winning momentum when they host Basford United on Saturday in the league.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Coombe, Hunter, Charlton, Shaw (c) (Wokoma 72), Morse, Briggs, Thurston (Turnbull 51), Baxter, Gilchrist (Alli 64), Mason, Annear. Subs not used: Boney, Gillies.
Goals: Mason (25), Gilchrist (56), Briggs (pen 66), Annear (83).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Bob Scott.
South Shields ended Matlock Town’s unbeaten start to the season as a superb away performance set the platform for a 2-1 win in Derbyshire on Saturday.
The victory was hard-fought but deserved for the Mariners as they bounced back from their Emirates FA Cup replay defeat at Colne four days earlier.
Captain Jon Shaw – deployed in a striking role – broke the deadlock less than a minute into the second half with a stunning volley from just outside the box.
Vice captain Robert Briggs doubled the lead with a nerveless penalty before the hour mark and although Marcus Marshall pulled one back for the hosts towards the end, Shields held firm to claim a welcome three points.
Joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton introduced Shaw and Briggs to the Shields starting line-up, and the early signs suggested this was a team determined to return to winning ways after their midweek disappointment.
The new strike pairing of Shaw and Jason Gilchrist combined less than two minutes into the game, with Shaw’s flick latched onto by Gilchrist, whose superb lob dropped just past the post and into the side netting.
The Mariners went close again when Josh Gillies whipped in a corner from the right and Gary Brown directed it goalwards, but home goalkeeper Jonathan Stewart was able to push away his header.
Shields produced some bright moments in the first half, but were unable to find a way past Stewart.
He narrowly won a race with Gilchrist for a loose ball after a lofted pass by Briggs, with the striker having been destined to score had he got there first.
Matlock launched a swift break and threatened to get in behind when the ball was slipped through towards Marshall, but Brown was alert to the danger and made a vital interception.
Shaw and Gillies both went close for Shields with deflected efforts which went wide, while at the other end, a brace of free-kicks from the dangerous Daniel Bramall flew narrowly wide, although goalkeeper Myles Boney appeared to have both of them covered.
The best chance of the half came from the last action of it after Shields played a short corner on the left.
The ball was eventually swung in and met by the head of Dillon Morse before hitting the top of the bar and bouncing out to Gilchrist, who hammered a volley just over the top.
The Mariners will have been satisfied with their first half performance but mindful of the need to convert their possession, territory and chances into goals. They did not have to wait too long to do just that after the break.
Less than a minute into the second half, the breakthrough arrived in stunning fashion.
Adam Thurston did superbly on the right to put Matlock under pressure before sending in a cross which was headed out as far as Shaw on the edge of the box. The captain kept his eye on the ball and watched it onto his right foot before rifling a terrific volley into the bottom corner, with the power on the strike giving Stewart no chance.
Shaw revelled in the goal as he rolled back the years and showed the striker’s instincts which saw him have such success in that position with the likes of Gateshead, Burton Albion and Luton Town before switching to central defence with Shields.
Another acrobatic effort from the skipper came in the 56th minute as he got on the end of a long throw from Brown, but this time a defender was in the way to block and clear the danger.
Shields did strike again before the hour, though, and again Thurston was at the heart of it as he drove at the Matlock defence from the right before being bundled over in the area.
Briggs took the ball and made no mistake from the spot with a sweet strike into Stewart’s bottom left corner to extend the Mariners’ advantage.
Matlock were attempting to protect their unbeaten start to the season and showed great fight in the closing stages as they tried to force their way back into the game.
The lively Bramall had a shot deflected wide after cutting inside from the left before the hosts halved the deficit with a move which originated on the same flank.
The ball was eventually played into Marshall who after receiving it with his back to goal, turned well and fired it past Boney from 12 yards to set up a grandstand finish.
Shields did well to largely restrict the home side’s opportunities in the final 15 minutes despite a flurry of deliveries into the penalty area.
They could have made the points safe at the other end, with Shaw going closest as he got on the end of a fine move before pulling the trigger on the inside-right of the area and seeing the ball whistle just wide.
Shaw ended the game back in defence as the Mariners defended their lead, and the best chance for an equaliser fell to Matlock’s goalkeeper Stewart after he came forward for a corner in stoppage time. The ball fell to him 12 yards out and it was a presentable opportunity, but he blazed high and wide with his weaker foot.
Shields effectively saw the game out to take their tally to 13 points from their first six league matches heading into next Saturday’s encounter with second-placed Basford United at Mariners Park.
Before that, it’s a trip to Tadcaster Albion in the Integro Cup on Tuesday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Turnbull, Morse, Brown, Thurston, Briggs (Baxter 83), Gilchrist (Annear 67), Gillies (Mason 64), Shaw (c). Subs not used: Charlton, Alli.
Goals: Shaw (46), Briggs (pen 59).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.
South Shields lit up Mariners Park on a momentous occasion as Ashton United were put to the sword on Tuesday.
On a night which saw the club’s new floodlights make their debut, the Mariners played some scintillating football as they made it two wins from two in the BetVictor Northern Premier League Premier Division.
They found themselves two goals in front at half-time, with Robert Briggs having opened the scoring early on from the penalty spot before Gary Brown headed in the second late in the first half.
Jason Gilchrist wrapped things up 10 minutes from the end as Shields moved to the top of the embryonic table.
The Mariners got off to the fastest of starts and almost took the lead within the first minute, with a terrific ball over the top by Briggs met by Gilchrist, whose goalbound effort was excellently cleared.
They got their reward when Luke Daly was tripped inside the penalty area early on after some fine build-up play, and Briggs made no mistake from the spot as he stroked the ball into the goalkeeper’s bottom left corner.
Ashton had their first chance soon after, with John Pritchard heading over from a cross from the right.
But an even better opportunity arrived at the other end in the ninth minute as Gilchrist was found in the box and he brilliantly beat his man before sending the ball wide.
Both teams were reduced to efforts from distance for much of the rest of the half, until the Mariners doubled their lead four minutes before half-time.
Josh Gillies curled in a tremendous free-kick from the right which found the head of an unmarked Brown, who nodded into the ground and saw the ball bounce up and in off the post.
Ashton could have halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time as the ball broke to Joshua Wilson on the left of the area, but he crashed a shot against the post as Shields survived.
Jordan Hunter was brought on for his Mariners debut at the break as the injured Jon Shaw was replaced, and the hosts almost had their third goal within four minutes of the restart.
A Nathan Lowe effort was half-cleared as far as Gillies and he struck the loose ball goalwards, but an impressive block denied him.
Shields went closer still soon after as Gillies fired towards goal from the left of the box and his effort took a deflection to wrongfoot goalkeeper Jon Worsnop, who somehow adjusted to claw the ball inches over the bar.
Gilchrist was the latest to be denied by a block as the home side continued to create chances, before Ashton had a decent spell from the 75 minute mark.
They went close to pulling a goal back when a ball from deep on the left found Kyle Harrison at the back post and he prodded it against the post.
Shields continued to maintain their clean sheet and then made the points safe with 10 minutes left.
Patient build-up play saw Lowe released on the right of the area and he slid in a superb low cross which Gilchrist turned home from close range.
It was a comprehensive scoreline for the Mariners against a team tipped to challenge strongly for promotion this season, having been relegated from National League North last time out.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Brown, Adams, Shaw (c) (Hunter 46), Morse, Lowe, Daly (Turnbull 64), Briggs, Gilchrist, Thurston (Alli 77), Gillies. Subs not used: Charlton, Mason.
Goals: Briggs (pen 7), Brown (41), Gilchrist (80).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.