Updated: Sep 27, 2022
South Shields showed their strength with a red-hot second half display as they defeated Northern League title favourites Ashington 4-1 at Woodhorn Lane.
The game was goalless at half-time as both teams battled sweltering conditions on the hottest day of the year, but the Mariners turned on the style after the break.
Joao Gomes opened the scoring six minutes into the second half and Shields cantered to victory from there, with Sam Hodgson adding a blockbuster of a goal from distance before Darius Osei and Dylan Mottley-Henry added their names to the scoresheet.
Former Shields player Ben Harmison pulled one back for Ashington in stoppage time with a header.
There were few clear-cut opportunities in the first half as the teams adapted to the heat. Will Jenkins flashed a shot wide from distance and Kyle Hayes batted away a powerful drive from a tight angle by Ntumba Massanka while at the other end, Myles Boney saved low from Dan Maguire.
The Mariners almost took the lead in some style moments before the break when Will Jenkins won the ball high up the pitch and a terrific left foot effort by Hodgson rattled the crossbar.
Kevin Phillips’ side offered more of a threat as the first half progressed and that pattern continued after the interval, with an added clinical edge.
The first goal arrived on 51 minutes as captain Blair Adams was released down the left and he slid a ball across the box which Gomes stretched to prod in.
A second goal quickly arrived as Hodgson let fly from 25 yards out on the right and his left foot bullet kissed the inside of the post before nestling in the net as the forward notched for the fourth time in pre-season.
Hodgson almost added another on the hour mark as he headed a superb Jenkins cross towards the opposite post but could only watch the ball drop agonisingly wide of it.
Shields made eight changes just afterwards but that did little to affect their rhythm.
One of those brought on, Darius Osei, scored the Mariners’ third with 16 minutes left, moments after being denied by Hayes. Josh Doherty was the provider with a terrific delivery from the left and Osei got in front of his marker to ram the ball home.
The Mariners went close several times to making it four, with Mottley-Henry seeing a low drive tipped wide by Hayes, who also saved from Mackenzie Heaney as Shields’ relentless attacking continued.
They went closer still when Heaney zipped a ball across the face of goal which Mottley-Henry and Osei were just unable to convert, but the fourth they had been threatening did come on 88 minutes.
Will McGowan threaded a brilliant pass through to Mottley-Henry and his clinical finish added further gloss to the scoreline.
Michael Woods had a powerful volley brilliantly saved by Hayes as the game ticked into stoppage time but it was Ashington who would have the final say, with Harmison heading in from a corner.
Shields play their fifth match of pre-season on Saturday as they welcome Scarborough Athletic to 1st Cloud Arena.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter (Doherty 61), Bodenham (Marriott 61), Liddle (Bodenham 75), Doherty (Adams 32), Jenkins (Mottley-Henry 61), McGeorge (Smith 61), Gomes (McGowan 61), Massanka (Heaney 61), Briggs (Woods 61), Hodgson (Osei 61).
Goals: Gomes (51), Hodgson (56), Osei (74), Mottley-Henry (88).
Image: Craig McNair / ID Event Photography.