Andrew Cartwright’s last minute scorcher handed North Shields a hard fought 2-1 win over Shildon, sending them to the top of the Ebac Northern League Division One table.
Chay Liddle gave the Railwaymen the lead midway through the first half, with a deflected strike from the edge of the area.
Dan Wilson’s eighth goal of the season drew the Robins level just before the break, beating Shildon ‘keeper Shaun Newbrook from a tight angle.
Adam Forster, Wilson, and Callum Smith all forced Newbrook into fine saves, as the hosts pushed for the winning goal.
But with the game headed for a draw, Cartwright’s powerful late strike beat Newbrook at the near post, securing the win and the Robins’ place at the top of Division One.
After Wednesday night’s victory against Guisborough Town, the Robins were looking to strike early and in the eighth minute, Wilson’s through ball found David Robinson, but his low cross into the box was smothered by the Shildon shot-stopper.
With the wind and rain beginning to pick up, both sides struggled to maintain possession of the ball for long spells.
But in the 24th minute, the Robins came close when Chris McDonald charged forward with the ball, before splitting the Shildon defence in two to find Smith, whose low shot from a tight angle zipped across the face of the goal before going behind.
Having survived the early pressure, the Railwaymen began to grow into the game and only two minutes later, they struck first. Having been gifted too much space on the edge of the box, Liddle’s shot took a deflection off a defender, leaving Greg Purvis helpless as the ball hit the back of the net.
Despite falling behind, the Robins were still positive in moving the ball forwards. In the 36th minute, Wilson almost levelled the score, volleying over from close range, after the Shildon defence failed to deal with a dangerous ball into the box.
But only two minutes later, the in form striker made the most of great play between Forster and McDonald, beating the defender to the ball before hammering his shot home from the tightest of angles
North Shields were looking to end the half strongly and with only a minute left before the break, Smith and Cartwright linked up well, with another dangerous Smith cross deflecting into the welcome arms of Newbrook.
The Robins wasted no time in applying pressure to the Shildon defence, with Cartwright’s stinging shot, which was destined for the top corner, forcing Newbrook into a quick reaction save in the 48th minute.
Shildon’s shot-stopper was becoming busier and busier as the game went on, denying goalbound Wilson, Forster, and Smith efforts all in the space of only four minutes.
But the hosts were still very much in this game and in the 61st minute, Ben Trotter could only volley the ball well over the crossbar, after a monumental goulmouth scramble which left both sets of supporters pulling their hair out.
The Railwaymen were starting to cause the hosts plenty of grief and after a poor defensive pass from Tom Bexton in the 71st minute, Purvis needed to be at his best to deny the Shildon attacker one on one.
However, Shields were unrelenting in their desire to secure a fifth straight victory. With only a quarter of the game to play, a deft touch from Wilson handed Robinson a great chance to score, but the ball whistled agonisingly over the bar.
But just as the game looked as though it was destined for a draw, Marc Nash’s men finally made the breakthough in the 87th minute.
Following another great through ball, which caught most of the defence cold, Cartwright raced through on goal from the angle, before firmly finishing at Newbrook’s near post, sending the home supporters into raptures.
This proved to be the last action of the game, as North Shields saw out the four minutes of extra time to secure their place at the top of Division One.
Final Score: North Shields 2 Shildon 1
North Shields Starting XI: Greg Purvis, Andrew Cartwright, Chris McDonald, Gary Ormston, Paul New, Tom Bexton, David Robinson (Cam Cunningham 81), Adam Forster (c), Dan Wilson, Ryan Carr, Callum Smith (Robbie Christie 90)
Yellow Cards: Ryan Carr 42, Andrew Cartwright 49
Unused Substitutes: Nick Cassidy, Anthony Myers, Craig Spooner
Shildon Starting XI: Shaun Newbrook, Jack Naylor, Aidan Heywood, Daniel Moore (Kurt Matthews 53), Alex White (Danny Craggs 89), Will Vaulks, Chay Liddle, Ben Trotter, Dean Thexton, Joe Posthill, David Palmer
Yellow Cards: Aidan Heywood 35, Jack Naylor 73
Unused Substitutes: Matthew Bateman, Bryan Wood