South Shields showed their strength with a red-hot second half display as they defeated Northern League title favourites Ashington 4-1 at Woodhorn Lane.

The game was goalless at half-time as both teams battled sweltering conditions on the hottest day of the year, but the Mariners turned on the style after the break.

Joao Gomes opened the scoring six minutes into the second half and Shields cantered to victory from there, with Sam Hodgson adding a blockbuster of a goal from distance before Darius Osei and Dylan Mottley-Henry added their names to the scoresheet.

Former Shields player Ben Harmison pulled one back for Ashington in stoppage time with a header.

There were few clear-cut opportunities in the first half as the teams adapted to the heat. Will Jenkins flashed a shot wide from distance and Kyle Hayes batted away a powerful drive from a tight angle by Ntumba Massanka while at the other end, Myles Boney saved low from Dan Maguire.

The Mariners almost took the lead in some style moments before the break when Will Jenkins won the ball high up the pitch and a terrific left foot effort by Hodgson rattled the crossbar.

Kevin Phillips’ side offered more of a threat as the first half progressed and that pattern continued after the interval, with an added clinical edge.

The first goal arrived on 51 minutes as captain Blair Adams was released down the left and he slid a ball across the box which Gomes stretched to prod in.

A second goal quickly arrived as Hodgson let fly from 25 yards out on the right and his left foot bullet kissed the inside of the post before nestling in the net as the forward notched for the fourth time in pre-season.

Hodgson almost added another on the hour mark as he headed a superb Jenkins cross towards the opposite post but could only watch the ball drop agonisingly wide of it.

Shields made eight changes just afterwards but that did little to affect their rhythm.

One of those brought on, Darius Osei, scored the Mariners’ third with 16 minutes left, moments after being denied by Hayes. Josh Doherty was the provider with a terrific delivery from the left and Osei got in front of his marker to ram the ball home.

The Mariners went close several times to making it four, with Mottley-Henry seeing a low drive tipped wide by Hayes, who also saved from Mackenzie Heaney as Shields’ relentless attacking continued.

They went closer still when Heaney zipped a ball across the face of goal which Mottley-Henry and Osei were just unable to convert, but the fourth they had been threatening did come on 88 minutes.

Will McGowan threaded a brilliant pass through to Mottley-Henry and his clinical finish added further gloss to the scoreline.

Michael Woods had a powerful volley brilliantly saved by Hayes as the game ticked into stoppage time but it was Ashington who would have the final say, with Harmison heading in from a corner.

Shields play their fifth match of pre-season on Saturday as they welcome Scarborough Athletic to 1st Cloud Arena.

South Shields: Boney, Hunter (Doherty 61), Bodenham (Marriott 61), Liddle (Bodenham 75), Doherty (Adams 32), Jenkins (Mottley-Henry 61), McGeorge (Smith 61), Gomes (McGowan 61), Massanka (Heaney 61), Briggs (Woods 61), Hodgson (Osei 61).

Goals: Gomes (51), Hodgson (56), Osei (74), Mottley-Henry (88).

Image: Craig McNair / ID Event Photography.

South Shields produced an admirable pre-season display as they pushed EFL League Two side Barrow all the way in their first home friendly of the summer.

On a historic day for the club as the main stand at 1st Cloud Arena fully opened for the first time, Barrow took a two-goal lead into half-time thanks to a penalty from Josh Kay and header by Harrison Neal.

The Mariners had been impressive in the opening 45 minutes, though, and deservedly halved the deficit on 71 minutes with a superbly-taken goal from Sam Hodgson from outside the box.

They were unable to force an equaliser despite more bright play late on, but there were plenty of positives for Kevin Phillips and his side to take on a scorching afternoon in South Tyneside.

Shields were the better team in the early stages and twice forced decent saves from Barrow goalkeeper Paul Farman, who kept out a header from Darius Osei and later pushed a powerful Michael Woods drive over the bar.

Myles Boney was also sharp between the sticks for the Mariners to prevent Richard Bennett opening the scoring, but the hosts were more than holding their own until a controversial penalty was awarded to Barrow on 23 minutes when Dylan Mottley-Henry was adjudged to have fouled Patrick Brough.

Kay was clinical from the spot as he dispatched the ball into the bottom corner, sending Boney the wrong way to put his team in front.

The Bluebirds were strong in the remainder of the half and had opportunities to extend their advantage.

Kay fired efforts over and wide before the second goal did arrive two minutes into stoppage time, with Neal rising highest to head home a Sam Foley corner.

Shields almost pulled one back on 54 minutes when Farman fumbled a Martin Smith free-kick, but Bennett hooked the ball off the line.

Josh Gordon hit a shot wide at the other end and Boney saved well with his legs from Billy Waters as Barrow searched for a third goal.

The Mariners retained a threat of their own, though, and Hodgson fired a warning as he headed narrowly wide from a Will Jenkins cross after a corner was cleared back to the midfielder.

Hodgson did reduce the deficit with a wonderful goal on 71 minutes, working the ball onto his right foot before caressing it into the corner of the net from 25 yards as he scored for the third time in pre-season.

There was to be no equaliser for Shields, though there could have been a goal at the other end, with a trialist shooting over from close range.

The Mariners continue their pre-season preparations with an away match against Ashington on Tuesday.

South Shields: Boney, Hunter (Doherty 32), Adams (c), Liddle (Bodenham 61), Broadbent (Marriott 61), Smith (Briggs 61), Heaney (McGeorge 61), Woods (Jenkins 61), Osei (Hodgson 61), McGowan (Massanka 61), Mottley-Henry (Gomes 61).

Goal: Hodgson (71).

Attendance: 1,066.

Sam Hodgson scored twice as South Shields were involved in an eight-goal pre-season thriller with Blyth Spartans at Croft Park on Tuesday.

The Mariners found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-3 scoreline despite displaying many encouraging signs, with summer arrival Michael Woods also earning a place on the scoresheet with a sumptuous volley.

For the second friendly in succession, Shields manager Kevin Phillips opted to change his entire starting XI at half-time as several players took their cumulative pre-season game-time to the 90 minute mark.

The away side started brightly and there was early encouragement provided by an eye-catching link-up between Josh Doherty and Hodgson. Within two minutes, a cross from Doherty was nudged goalwards by Hodgson and saved by Blyth goalkeeper Alex Mitchell.

Spartans sprung into life in the ninth minute, though, with JJ O’Donnell forcing a parry from Callum Dobson before sending the rebound into the path of Corey McKeown, who finished sharply from close range.

The Mariners were quickly level, with the connection between Doherty and Hodgson this time resulting in a goal as the former’s cross was controlled by the striker, who then finished deftly with his other foot to open his account for pre-season.

Shields largely dominated the next period of the game, with Darius Osei sending a shot over before Hodgson was sent through on goal by a Dobson kick and was hauled down by Rhys Evans, who was shown a yellow card which could easily have been red.

Blyth then took control. O’Donnell hit the bar with a looping header and later forced a block from Shields’ trialist defender, but Shields could not avoid falling behind for much longer.

In fact, it was much worse than that for the visitors, who were caught in a Spartans whirlwind as Terry Mitchell’s side scored three times in just four minutes.

Lewis McNall headed them back in front before McKeown and O’Donnell produced clinical finishes to hand the home team a three-goal lead.

A close-range effort from Hodgson to double his tally reduced the arrears, with the forward converting a low ball from Osei.

An entirely changed Shields XI continued in that vein after half-time,

Ntumba Massanka twice went close and Jordan Hunter drew a stop from Mitchell before Michael Woods made it 4-3 with an eye-catching volley as he cushioned a Blair Adams cross into the roof of the net.

The Mariners had the momentum and created chances for an equaliser, but Mitchell saved from Adams and Mackenzie Heaney to avert the danger.

The eighth and final goal ultimately went the way of the hosts, with Jordan Hickey finding the bottom corner from the edge of the box to seal his side’s victory.

The final minutes saw Heaney denied by Mitchell and the welcome return of former Shields player Josh Gillies in a Blyth shirt after he recovered from a long-term injury.

From a Mariners perspective, there were plenty of positives as a mixture of youthful prospects, experienced campaigners and new arrivals continued to gel and got vital minutes in the tank.

They face their third test of pre-season when they host League Two side Barrow at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday.

First half line-up: Dobson, Lukeman, Doherty, Broadbent (c), Trialist, Smith, Osei, McGowan, Hodgson, Jenkins, Gomes.

Second half line-up: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Liddle, Bodenham, Woods, Briggs, McGeorge, Heaney, Kidd (McArthur 73), Massanka.

Goals: Hodgson (14, 39), Woods (65).