Saturday saw North Shields 1st XI travel to Richmond to play their first game of a double header this weekend. For the first time this season Shields were able to travel to a game with a full squad as they looked to build on the superb start to the season that saw them start the day in fourth place in the league.
It did not take Shields long to hit their stride as the Jordan Bell opened the scoring within the first 3 minutes. This turned out to be a sign of things to come in the first half as Shields proceeded to press forward against a Richmond team who were missing some key players from previous seasons. Rob O’Brien scored Shields’ second goal slotting a short corner into the corner of the Richmond net. O’Brien then immediately scored his second as he intercepted the ball from a Richmond defender and confidently played the ball past the keeper to extend the lead to 3-0.
Shields continued to control the game across the pitch and further extended their lead through Lough who found himself with a lifetime of time and space in the D and confidently hit a reverse stick shot low and hard into the back of the net. Richmond then carved out their only real attack of the first half when a quick break saw 2 attackers advancing onto Smith in the Shields goal but despite passing the ball round Smith, Piper was on hand to stop the ball before it crossed the line and clear it to safety. O’Brien rounded off the half by scoring his third to see Shields head into the half time break with a comfortable 5-0 lead.
Despite the score line skipper Bertenshaw pointed out that there were areas to work on in the second half. As the second began it was clear that Richmond were not going to lie down and they grew into the game picking off passes and moving forward with more confidence. It was however Shields who extended their lead further through Sowter who came off his wing to confidently finish.
A seventh goal looked to be surely coming however it was Richmond who pulled a goal back after the umpire awarded a dubious short corner after a tackle by Lough. The subsequent drag flick was fired past Smith and gave Richmond their first silver lining from the game. O’ Brien soon got back to his work scoring another powerful drag flick between the keeper and the man on the post. A fifth goal soon followed for the striker who finished a cross field ball by sweeping the ball past the keeper and into the side of the net, much to Sowter’s chagrin as he was waiting to slot home his second if not for O’Brien.
Richmond again came back at Shields and scored their second of the day to pull the score back to 8-2 but the subdued celebrations reflected how the game had gone to that point. Shields completed the game with another O’Brien drag flick, scoring his sixth goal of the game. The final whistle blew with the 9-2 score line reflecting Shields’ dominance and control of the game although the post-match reflections left plenty of areas for improvement in Sunday’s game despite the final score.