South Shields thrash Ossett United to win inaugural Puma Cup
South Shields won the inaugural Puma Cup after scoring five times without reply in a superb second half performance at Ossett United on Saturday.
After the sides went in at half-time deadlocked, Jason Gilchrist and Nathan Lowe both netted twice after the break and Luke Daly completed the scoring for a dominant Shields.
The performance was arguably their best of pre-season as they completed their preparations for next Saturday's season opener at Radcliffe.
Shields did not have things all their own way in an even first half, though, when they were also tested by difficult conditions and were playing against the wind.
Goalkeeper Myles Boney had to be alert early on to prevent Damian Reeves having a clear chance on goal, while at the other end, Ossett's trialist goalkeeper got down well to keep out an effort from the edge of the box by Adam Thurston.
Boney did well to deny Luke Porritt as he let fly from just outside the area, and Jack Stockdill also went close for the home side as his free-kick struck the wall before bouncing narrowly past the post.
Lowe went similarly close at the other end for the Mariners before the away side created their best chance of the half.
Robert Briggs' superb clip over the top beat the Ossett defence and found Josh Gillies, but the goalkeeper was out quickly to close the angle and make the save.
The trialist goalkeeper continued to make an impression when he palmed a Briggs free-kick from 25 yards over the bar, and he also pushed away a dangerous cross by Lowe which appeared destined to find the head of Gilchrist.
Shields were ruthless after half-time as they took the game to their hosts with real style.
They almost took the lead within two minutes of the restart as Gillies whipped in a free-kick from the right which was powerfully headed goalwards by Gary Brown, but a tremendous fingertip save denied him.
The Mariners did not have to wait too much longer for their breakthrough.
Daly received the ball on the right, beat his man and delivered a superb cross which Gilchrist struck into the back of the net with a first-time finish.
Shields won the ball back almost immediately from the restart and Lowe played in Gillies on the left of the area before continuing his run and finishing from close range when the return pass was slid across the box.
The Mariners were playing some sublime football and got their reward again when they carved Ossett open down the left and Gillies got in behind and played it across the area to Gilchrist, who made no mistake from point blank range.
Gilchrist played a major role in the fourth goal as he chased a seemingly lost cause into the corner, won the ball and played it inside to Lowe, who was clipped inside the penalty area.
The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Lowe comfortably beat the goalkeeper to score his second of the afternoon.
More scintillating play by Shields resulted in a fifth goal on 68 minutes, with Lowe playing the ball to the feet of Daly, who struck home from the edge of the area.
Ossett had opportunities to pull one back in the closing stages but the Mariners held firm to register a welcome clean sheet.
It's now all eyes on next Saturday as they get their league campaign underway.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney (Connell 69), Brown (Charlton 66), Adams, Lowe, Morse (Lockey 72), Wokoma, Daly, Briggs (c) (Thompson 61), Gilchrist (Guy 69), Thurston (Alli 66), Gillies (Foley 61).
Goals: Gilchrist (49, 55), Lowe (50, pen 65), Daly (68).