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’ involvement in this season’s Integro Cup begins on Tuesday with a trip to Tadcaster Albion.
The Mariners go into the match looking to build momentum following Saturday’s 2-1 win at previously unbeaten Matlock Town in the league.
They are in good shape in the league, having picked up 13 points from their first six games.
Shields will now be looking to avoid falling at the first hurdle in a competition they reached the semi-final of two seasons ago.
Tadcaster are seventh in the BetVictor NPL North West Division after winning 10 points from their first five matches, and have proved to be difficult opponents for the Mariners in the past.
Shields are expected to make some changes for the game, but joint manager Graham Fenton insists the match will be taken seriously and a strong side will take to the field.
He said: “We talked after Saturday’s game about gaining momentum.
“We’ve had to chop and change a lot so far this season because of injuries and suspensions, but this provides us with a chance to get a bit of momentum.
“I’d imagine there will be a few changes but will it be wholesale? No.
“We want to try to keep some momentum.
“We’re in a good place in the league and rolled our sleeves up on Saturday after the disappointment in the FA Cup.
“We want to continue that momentum into the coming games and see where it takes us.”
Matlock were unbeaten heading into Saturday’s encounter with Shields and despite a late rally from the hosts, the Mariners were deserved winners thanks to goals from Jon Shaw and Robert Briggs.
It was a victory and performance which drew much praise from Fenton.
He added: “It was hugely satisfying.
“Make no mistake about it, everyone was hurting from last Tuesday’s defeat at Colne and the players came back with a huge response.
“Fair play to Matlock because they made a real game of it in the last 20 minutes and threw the kitchen sink at it, but we dominated for the first 70 minutes or so.
“We looked good, strong, organised and always had a threat.
“Everyone played their part, rolled their sleeves up when needed and played some good football when they could.
“It was another fantastic away performance and we were delighted with the win.”
Shields are hoping to welcome back David Foley after he missed the last two games due to holiday commitments.
They will remain without Luke Daly (knee) and Nathan Lowe (calf).
Kick-off in Tuesday’s match – which is taking place at i2i Stadium (LS24 9AY) – is at 7.45pm.
South Shields face a trip to Tadcaster Albion in the first round of the Integro Cup.
The Mariners will travel to the BetVictor Northern Premier North West Division side on Tuesday, September 17.
The two sides last met in competitive action in the 2017-18 season, with Shields winning 2-0 at Tadcaster before the reverse fixture was drawn 0-0.
Shields reached the semi-final of the Integro Cup in the same campaign.