South Shields moved to within five points of Northern League Division One leaders North Shields with a convincing 4-1 win at West Allotment Celtic last night.
The Mariners dominated much of the game, but needed a strong second-half performance to secure the victory after the hosts equalised just before half-time.
Shields came up against a goalkeeper in fine form, with Chris Bannon keeping them at bay on a number of occasions.
He denied Jon Shaw with a good low save early on, but could do nothing to stop the same player opening the scoring on 19 minutes as he picked out the top corner from 25 yards.
Bannon made a great double save from Anthony Callaghan to keep it at 1-0, and also made a fine stop from Wayne Phillips.
He was rewarded for those saves when Liam Hudson drew West Allotment level just before half-time as he capitalised on a ball over the top.
Shaw missed a glorious chance to put Shields back ahead early in the second half as he headed a cross from the excellent Adam Wrightson over the bar.
The Mariners were soon back in front, though, as Callaghan raced down the left and saw his superb cross headed in for an own goal.
Danny Carson went close to extending the lead, and substitute Julio Arca was unlucky to be denied by a fantastic fingertip save from Bannon after a shot from distance.
A red card for West Allotment’s Dale Pearson, for dissent, effectively ended the home side’s challenge, and they were picked off late on.
Arca and Carl Finnigan combined to set up David Foley for number three, and Foley scored again as he was found by a superb through ball by Carson before he rounded the goalkeeper and slotted in.
That was that as the Mariners strengthened their hand in Division One, while they still have a game in hand on North Shields.
They have also been boosted by the arrival of former Newcastle United attacking midfielder Michael Richardson, who has joined from Blyth Spartans.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Smith (Finnigan 81), Callaghan, Carson, Morse, Baxter, Wrightson, Briggs (Arca 60), Shaw (c), Foley, Phillips (Holden 70). Subs not used: Barlow, Ramsey.
Goals: Shaw (19), Own goal (52), Foley (82, 86).
Mariners were soon in front, though, as Callaghan raced down the left and saw his superb cross headed in for an own goal.
Hebburn Town succumbed to a shock 2-1 defeat at home to bottom club Esh Winning in Division Two.
Lee Best headed Esh in froint, but Alan Pegram lobbed keeper Mark Fish to level just after the hour mark.
Two minutes later though, Shaun Ross rounded keeper Steve Hubery and scored from a tight angle to secure Esh’s surprise success.