Cestrians no match for in-form Mariners

South Shields' players celebrate their first goal at Chester-le-Street Town. Image by Peter Talbot.
South Shields' players celebrate their first goal at Chester-le-Street Town. Image by Peter Talbot.

South Shields travel to Penrith today looking for a third consecutive win after hitting Chester-le-Street Town for six on Saturday.

The Mariners were in scintillating form at Moor Park, with goals from Jon Shaw (2), debutant Carl Finnigan, David Palmer, Danny Carson and Robert Briggs securing a 6-0 victory.

David Palmer on the ball for South Shields against Chester-le-Street. Image by Peter Talbot.

David Palmer on the ball for South Shields against Chester-le-Street. Image by Peter Talbot.

The win moved Jon King’s side up to fifth in the early Northern League Division One table and left the Cestrians bottom and without a point.

Shields had really got their season up and running with a 2-1 home win over Seaham Red Star last Tuesday, and looked in mean mood against Chester-le-Street.

They switched to a new formation, with new arrival Ben Clark slotting into a three-man central defence alongside Danny Carson and Louis Storey.

The trio looked solid throughout and helped the Mariners to their first clean sheet of the campaign, while Carson also wreaked havoc at the other end with some superb deliveries forward and his first goal for the club.

Shields dominated from the outset, but suffered an early blow when David Foley was forced off with an injury in the eighth minute.

However, if Chester-le-Street may have breathed a sigh of relief at the thought of Foley being withdrawn, that surely did not last for long with the sight of Finnigan replacing him for his Shields debut.

The former Newcastle United, Falkirk and Gateshead forward had secured international clearance to play for the Mariners two days ahead of the game, and was immediately in the thick of things.

A thunderous drive within six minutes of coming on from Finnigan crashed against the crossbar and bounced down just the wrong side of the line, according to the officials.

It did not take too much longer for Shields to find the breakthrough, though, and it came when they worked the ball across to the left.

Carson then delivered a superb delivery into the box, and Shaw made a decisive run across his marker to head low into the bottom corner for a trademark goal.

Shaw added his second when Palmer made an impressive run from the left and then slotted a pass through for Barrie Smith, who pulled it back for the former Gateshead man to finish off.

Within a minute of the kick-off, it was 3-0 as arguably the goal of the match was scored.

Carson was again the provider as he picked the ball up well inside his own half and lofted it over the home defence for Finnigan, who controlled it with his head and then dinked a sumptuous effort over the goalkeeper for a debut goal.

The Mariners were ruthless again four minutes before the break when Julio Arca pressurised goalkeeper Jack Wilson into a mistake and then scampered after the ball. His pass was helped into the path of Palmer by a defender, and he made no mistake as he placed it into the bottom corner.

Shields had to wait until midway through the second half for goal number five, and it came after a fine team move.

Eventually, substitute Warren Byrne hit the post as he was denied his first goal of the season, but the ball came back for Carson, who smashed it home for a deserved goal.

Robert Briggs got in on the act with 11 minutes left when he was involved with a fine give-and-go with Shaw on the edge of the box and then fired a left foot effort past Wilson.

The football on display from the Mariners offered great promise for what may lie ahead, and first-team coach Gary Middleton hopes they will be able to build on it in today’s 2pm kick-off at Penrith (CA11 8UA).

He said: “Penrith is a tough place to go, so it will be a tricky game.

“No doubt we’ll need to be at our best, but if we maintain the form we’re showing at the moment, hopefully we can bring back the three points.

“We played some great stuff on Saturday, and everyone contributed to a great performance.

“I thought Jon Shaw was different class. His movement was good and he was quality all over the pitch. It was a top, top performance from him.

“It’s virtually a totally new crop of players, and we’re still looking to add to the squad, so it’s going to take time.

“Lads are getting to know each other as the weeks go on, so it’s only going to get better, but everything is going in the right direction.”

South Shields: Carmichael, Smith, Arca (Byrne 62), Storey, Clark, Danny Carson, David Carson (Briggs 51), Scroggins (c), Shaw, Palmer, Foley (Finnigan 8). Subs not used: Elliott, Baxter.

Goals: Shaw (17, 36), Finnigan (37), Palmer (41), Danny Carson (71), Briggs (79).