South Shields move five points clear with impressive 4-1 win over in-form Gainsborough Trinity
South Shields registered a convincing 4-1 win at in-form Gainsborough Trinity as they moved five points clear at the top of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division.
The Mariners produced one of their most impressive performances of the season to strengthen their promotion hopes as they built on an early goal from Darius Osei.
Nathan Lowe doubled the advantage 11 minutes before half-time and the away side continued to press on after the break, with goals from Dillon Morse and Josh Gillies sealing the points.
Gainsborough pulled one back from the penalty spot towards the end but could do little to dent what was a superb day for Shields in Lincolnshire.
They looked in determined mood from the outset and had their first sight of goal as early as the second minute as Jason Gilchrist flashed a shot wide from a Dom McHale corner.
The Mariners were dominant in possession and received their reward on nine minutes as Jon Shaw lifted a ball over the defence into the left channel and Osei wriggled his way through before finishing well from a tight angle as he netted his first goal for the club.
Shields were playing front foot football and went close to doubling their advantage on a number of occasions, with Osei firing into the side netting, Lowe sending a piledriver just wide and Blair Adams drilling a low ball across goal which just evaded a touch.
The deserved second goal arrived in the 34th minute as Lowe pounced on a loose ball in midfield and drove forward before hammering a low effort past home goalkeeper George Willis.
There were two good opportunities for the Mariners to make it three before half-time, but Morse and Osei were both narrowly off target with their attempts.
Shields will have expected a strong response from their hosts early in the second half and Gainsborough obliged.
They provided an improved goal threat but were unable to seriously trouble Myles Boney in the Shields goal before the Mariners pressed on again midway through the second half.
Willis did well to tip a long range bullet from Lowe wide but from the resulting corner, the Mariners added a third as Gillies' cross from the right bounced in the area and was pounced on by Morse, who smashed it past Willis.
A fourth goal was added 10 minutes before the end when Willis saved from Gilchrist before Robert Briggs headed the rebound against the bar the ball bounced to Gillies, who nodded home.
Gainsborough pulled a goal back five minutes from the end as Gregg Smith converted from the spot, but the points had long since been sealed by the Mariners.
They will hope to build on the victory when they travel to Bamber Bridge next Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams (Verstraaten 80), Shaw (c), Morse, Turnbull, Baxter, Lowe, Gilchrist, Osei (Briggs 74), McHale (Gillies 46). Subs not used: Thompson, Ross.
Goals: Osei (9), Lowe (34), Morse (70), Gillies (80).