Crowd favourite Barrie Smith described the atmosphere in the South Shields dressing room as ‘incredible’ after he finally notched his first goal of the season on Saturday.
Smith was positioned on the right of midfield in the 4-1 win over Alnwick Town, with new signing Danny Carson taking his usual spot at right-back.
The 31-year-old thrived with his increased attacking responsibility, scoring the Mariners’ third goal as he struck the ball into the top corner from David Foley’s pass.
The goal helped Shields to a 20th consecutive victory, with morale among the squad naturally at an all-time high.
Smith – among the longest-serving Shields players in the squad, with 221 appearances for the Mariners – said: “It’s great to be part of this run and in this group of lads.
“The atmosphere in the changing room is incredible, so I just hope it continues.
“It was nice personally to get on the scoresheet on Saturday.
“It was a great ball from David Foley, and apparently I could have squared the ball for a tap-in, but that didn’t cross my mind at all. It was a decent finish.
“I got a few (goals) last year, but I’m not bothered about scoring as long as the team is winning. That’s the main thing for me.”
The game was watched by a crowd of 670 at Mariners Park, which is also Shields’ average attendance in the league this season.
On the support, Smith added: “The fans were fantastic.
“It doesn’t matter what the conditions are, they’re here.
“They also come here and try to sort the pitch out to get the games on, so credit to them and a big thank you.”
Shields were tested by Alnwick when the visitors scored an equaliser in first half stoppage time, while the heavy pitch added to the difficulties.
Smith said: “It was difficult, and the pitch was heavy, but we dug in and got the 20th win in a row, so credit to the lads. We’ve just got to keep on going.
“The side of the pitch where all the fans were was a lot worse, but you know at this time of the year that you’re going to be playing on pitches like that.
“I played more as a winger, so it was a bit more tricky for me on the sides, but I don’t mind where I play.
“I just like playing, and I understand that the group that I’m in are all good players, so the main thing is that I play. That’s all I’m happy about.”
l Stockton Town are only a couple of points behind Wearside League leaders Redcar Athletic, with four games in hand, after they blitzed Jarrow 8-1.
Stephen Roberts, Kallum Hannah, Chris Stockton and Matthew Garbutt had the game won by half-time, and in the second period, Adam Nicholson and Ben Priestley each bagged a brace.
Jarrow trailed by eight goals before Alexander Bone claimed a late consolation.