Updated: Apr 16
Champions South Shields signed off their home campaign in winning fashion as a blistering start helped them to a fine 2-1 victory over high-flying Warrington Town.
In front of a tremendous crowd of over 3,000, Shields raced into a two-goal lead inside the first nine minutes as Tom Broadbent and Robert Briggs found the net.
Warrington - who went into the game on a 22-match unbeaten run - pulled one back 11 minutes before half-time but were second-best as the Mariners underlined why they will end the season top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League standings.
Shields displayed the kind of confidence you would expect from a side crowned champions five days earlier, beginning the match at a frenetic pace.
They could have scored inside 90 seconds when Jordy Mongoy robbed goalkeeper Tony Thompson of possession on the left touchline, but his attempt lacked the conviction required to beat the back-tracking defenders.
Blair Adams saw a shot blocked but the Mariners did find the breakthrough they had been threatening on five minutes.
Conor Newton floated in a delivery from the right and Broadbent rose toweringly to head into the top corner as he netted for the second time in two games.
The lead was doubled before 10 minutes were on the clock as Briggs got in on the act.
Mongoy was again in tigerish mood as he took the ball from Thompson and laid the ball off to the club's longest-serving player, who stroked home from 15 yards.
In-form striker Josh Amis could have quickly halved the deficit for the Yellows, but his header from a Luke Duffy cross narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Newton had been integral to Shields' excellent start, zipping into challenges and pressurising Warrington high up the field.
He was forced off on 19 minutes with an injury, though, departing the field to a standing ovation after making a superb, timely impact on the Mariners' season in a vital period of three games.
Shields continued to dominate most of the proceedings but the next period saw them limited to strikes from range.
The visitors pulled one back on 34 minutes as Myles Boney's pass went straight to Duffy and he converted into an empty net.
Substitute Lewis Alessandra quickly had an opportunity to re-establish Shields' two-goal advantage, but his effort from just outside the area was blocked.
Amis provided a persistent threat for the Yellows and he could have equalised less than 25 seconds into the second half, with his header too close to Boney.
Another chance came and went when Boney pushed a Sean Williams shot away from danger after a quick break from the away team.
Warrington's momentum was punctured when Shields almost scored their third in the 51st minute. Jordan Hunter slipped in Harry Gardiner down the right channel and he advanced into the area before having a strike cleared off the line. Alessandra then forced Thompson into a sprawling save from 20 yards.
The Mariners had re-found their initiative and went close again when Broadbent's header from a Martin Smith corner went narrowly past the post, before Smith himself struck just wide from the edge of the box.
Gardiner was played in by a tremendous through ball just after the hour mark, but Thompson was out quickly to close the angle and save.
At the other end, Boney had to be alert to beat away a fierce drive from Bohan Dixon, but much of the play was concentrated in Warrington's half by this stage.
Shields had a number of opportunities to double their lead, and went close with 15 minutes remaining when Smith's half volley was well held by Thompson.
Warrington committed numbers forward as they searched for an equaliser, but the Mariners were not seriously threatened until a close range header from Isaac Buckley-Ricketts cleared the crossbar.
Mottley-Henry could have scored in stoppage time to round things off for the hosts as he scorched away down the left, but Thompson made a brave save as the Mariners' margin of victory remained at one.
Shields will complete their season away to Stafford Rangers next Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Morse, Adams (c), Liddle, Broadbent, Smith, Hunter, Briggs, Gardiner (Heaney 67), Newton (Alessandra 19), Mongoy (Mottley-Henry 59). Subs not used: Osei, Gomes.
Goals: Broadbent (5), Briggs (9).
Image: Kev Wilson.