West Auckland Town 1-2 North Shields
West Auckland suffered their first home defeat since September as two goals from Ryan Carr steered North Shields to a hard fought 2-1 win at the Wanted Stadium.
Carr struck on 21 minutes via a vigorous left-footed finish into the top corner before doubling Shield’s lead on 56 minutes with an instinctive header converting Craig Spooner’s sublime cross.
David Dowson pulled one back for West on the hour mark following a clever lay-off from Adam Burnicle to fire in from close range and give Gary Forrest’s side a glimmer of hope.
Though the Robins held on for a third successive victory as West slipped down to sixth in the Northern League Division One table with 32 points from 20 matches as they lost their first home game since September when they were narrowly beaten by Hebburn Town.
In the reverse fixture in October, a brace from Amar Purewal saw West claim all three points at the Daren Persson Stadium despite Gary Day’s late consolation.
However, this time around North Shields inflicted some Deja vu on Forrest’s side, after winning by the same score line last season.
Within the opening five minutes, West posed the first threat as defender Chris Hunter found some space on the edge of the 18-yard box and forced a well-timed save at the near post from Greg Purvis.
Six minutes later, the Robins had a great opportunity to take the lead as Callum Johnston broke through the Auckland defence only to be impeccably kept out by Shane Bland, who pushed his effort to safety as it turned out to be an even start from both sides.
The on-loan Spennymoor Town goalkeeper was called into action once more as Sean McRoberts saw his close-range strike well blocked and cleared out of harm’s way.
Approaching the 20-minute mark, Burnicle responded with a decent chance for West but was denied via a good save from Purvis.
North Shields looked for an immediate reaction and took advantage of sloppy defending as they punished West moments later as Carr in acres of space on the right-hand side drilled a first-time left-footed shot into the roof of the net giving Bland absolutely no chance whatsoever.
In the 31st minute, James Xydias had a sight at goal from 25-yards out though the Australian could only curl his effort inches past the post as West tried to increase the tempo.
Though the Robins stood firm and were frustrating the hosts, controlling the possession and had one final chance before the end of the half when Jordan Summerly’s darting run enabled him to pick out Johnston at the back post, who directed his volley narrowly wide.
At the beginning of the second-half, Xydias weaved his way through the Shields defence only to be stopped following a vital interception from Mark McManus as West started brighter.
Carr looked dangerous every time the Robins moved the ball forward and the striker produced a precise finish in the 56th minute after he got on the end of Spooner’s magnificent cross with a thumping header for his second of the afternoon to send Marc Nash’s side into jubilation.
Despite being two goals behind, West remained calm and managed to grab a consolation just four minutes later when Burnicle played an exquisiteball over towards Dowson to side-foot it past Purvis for his first goal for the club and set up a tense finale.
Throughout the remainder of the contest, North Shields defended superbly and in the closing stages, Summerly made a crucial goal-line clearance to ensure the three points would go back with the Robins.
West will look to regroup and bounce back ahead of their final home game of 2018 as they host Ryhope CW on Saturday (15:00).
West Auckland – Bland, Hegarty (Morris, 62), Cobain, Colquhoun, Hunter, Portas (c), Xydias (Wearmouth, 57), Dodds, Dowson (Purewal, 69), Burnicle, Mitchell
Subs not used – Bradley, Coulson
Goal – Dowson (60)
North Shields – Purvis, Donnison, Summerly, Hall (Ormston, 65), McManus, Hughes (c), McRoberts, Spooner, Johnston (Day, 73), Carr, Robinson (Cooper, 78)
Subs not used – Cunningham, Skivington
Goals – Carr (21, 56)
Referee – Craig Dean
Attendance – 261
Report by Harry Crowe