South Shields eased into the quarter-finals of the League Cup last night after seeing off Penrith 4-1 at Mariners Park.
The Mariners looked comfortable throughout against their Cumbrian opponents as they kept their challenge on four fronts alive.
The Mariners continued to consistently threaten the visiting backline.
Romanian defender Iulian Petrache scored the pick of the bunch with a stunning strike from distance, just hours after signing for the club.
There were also goals for Michael Richardson and Dillon Morse, before the victory was wrapped up with an own goal.
Shields were immediately on the front foot in front of a crowd of 606 at Mariners Park. Stephen Ramsey almost turned an Alex Nicholson cross home, and Gavin Cogdon drilled an effort not far wide as the hosts attacked with purpose.
Their deserved breakthrough arrived in the sixth minute after good play by Ramsey, who threaded the ball through for Cogdon.
He touched it beyond the goalkeeper, and Richardson showed great determination to get to the loose ball before the despairing defenders to force it into the net.
Shields enjoyed almost complete domination in the rest of the first half, without being able to convert their possession into further goals. Wayne Phillips had a shot from distance deflected narrowly wide, as did Ramsey, while Richardson went close after showing great skill to beat a defender.
At the other end, Liam Connell was rarely tested in the Shields goal.
The Mariners continued to consistently threaten the visiting backline, but they held firm until the break, with Cogdon going closest when his effort was deflected just past the post.
After half-time, Shields picked up where they left off, with Richardson shooting not far wide.
The second goal finally arrived in the 56th minute when Petrache brought the ball forward in the centre before firing in a superb strike off the post from 30 yards.
It was soon 3-0 when Petrache’s defensive partner Morse got on the scoresheet, forcing a cross from Julio Arca beyond the line.
Ramsey and Foley went close to grabbing the fourth, while Shields introduced teenagers Ewan Simpson and Ryan Bolam from the bench in the last 20 minutes.
Good pressure by Bolam forced an own goal from Penrith’s William Paul, who turned a low Nicholson cross into his own net.
Paul redeemed himself just minutes later, scoring Penrith’s consolation with a low shot past Connell.
Shields have now won 12 games in a row, and travel to Jarrow Roofing in the league on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Nicholson, Petrache, Morse, Arca (c), Smith, Phillips (Simpson 65), Cogdon (Foley 61), Richardson, Ramsey (Bolam 71). Subs not used: Shaw, Briggs.
Goals: Richardson (6), Petrache (56), Morse (58), Paul own goal (73).