North Shields survived a late comeback to extend their league lead after a thrilling 3-2 victory over second placed Hebburn Town.
Dan Wilson’s ninth goal of the season midway through the first half handed the Robins a deserved lead heading into the break.
Two goals in five minutes from Gary Ormston and Cam Cunningham extended the hosts advantage as Hebburn struggled to get going.
Substitute Cedwyn Scott sparked a late comeback for the Hornets, with two goals of his own heading into the final fifteen minutes.
But a brilliant Greg Purvis save at the death denied the visitors a share of the spoils, as Shields held on to extend their lead at the top of the league to four points.
At the rain-soaked Daren Persson Stadium, it was the Robins who looked to threaten first, after Chris McDonald’s long throw in somehow avoided everyone, skipping across the penalty area before being cleared after ten minutes.
Both teams were finding the conditions difficult, but it was the Robins who had settled the better, with David Robinson’s headed effort testing Hebburn ‘keeper Mark Foden.
The Hornets should have taken the lead only two minutes later, after a well worked move allowed what looked like a simple finish for Graeme Armstrong.
As he looked set to pull the trigger, Anthony Myers recovered brilliantly to get his body between the ball and goal, forcing the experienced striker into playing the ball behind for a goal kick.
After starting the season strongly, Shields midfielder David Robinson looked determined to open his account for his new club, but saw his 23rd minute shot dribble agonisingly wide of the goal.
Only a minute later, the Robins made use of their dominance when Wilson reacted quicket to a well saved Callum Smith effort, tucking the ball home from close range into an empty net.
The combination of Wilson and Smith was giving the Hornets plenty to think about and in the 29th minute, both forwards almost saw their angled shots sneak in at the far post, with the Hebburn defence hanging on by a thread.
With fifteen minutes left to play in the first half, only Foden stood in the way of a second Shields goal, athletically tipping an excellent long range shot from Wilson over the crossbar.
Despite being put under so much pressure, Hebburn were still creating chances of their own, with Carl Taylor’s strike forcing Purvis into a smart save after 35 minutes.
Three minutes later, former Blyth Spartans midfielder Damen Mullen worked himself into plenty of space on the edge of the box, but he snapped at his shot, sending it well wide of the home goal.
Shields started the second half brightly, with Wilson forcing Foden into another smart save, after the striker had bullied his way into the box in the 47th minute.
But there was little the former Gateshead shot-stopper could do in the 51st minute to deny Shields a deserved second of the evening.
After collecting the ball on the edge of the penalty area, Adam Forster’s pin point cross found Ormston, whose header looped over the ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
The visitors were struggling under the pressure of the unrelenting Robins attack, with Smith being denied twice by the reflexes of Foden in the 55th minute.
However, just like the second goal, there was little the ‘keeper could do to deny the hosts a third. Another excellent cross from Forster this time found the head of Cunningham, who got enough on the ball to leave the Hebburn defence with no chance.
Looking for a way back into the game, visiting manager Kev Bolam made a flurry of substitutions, one of which helped the Hornets claw a goal back in the 61st minute.
After a defensive mixup between Paul New and Greg Purvis, substitute Scott was on hand to capitalise, taking the ball past the two Shields players before firing the ball home from close range.
Hebburn could smell a way back into the game and in the 68th minute, they reduced the Robins once commanding lead to only one goal. After a long range shot from Michael McKeown wass parried by Purvis, Scott once again reacted quickest to fire home from six yards out.
Shields were doing well to withstand the pressure from the visitors as the game entered the final ten minutes. With the rain beginning to ease, both Darren Lough and Jack Donaghy had efforts which looked to test Purvis, but their shots were off target.
However, deep into added time, Hebburn could very well have snatched a point, when Scott worked space for himself inside the penalty area, but his powerful shot was expertly tipped away by Purvis, who made up for his earlier error.
Thankfully, the Robins were able to hang on, securing all three points and extending their lead at the top of the Northern League Division One table.
Final Score: North Shields 3 Hebburn Town 2
Referee: Conor Scott
North Shields Starting Eleven: Greg Purvis, Andrew Cartwright, Chris McDonald, Gary Ormston, Paul New, Anthony Myers, Cam Cunningham Craig Spooner 80), Adam Forster (c), Dan Wilson (Robbie Christie 90), David Robinson, Callum Smith (Coleby Shepherd 71)
Yellow Cards: Coleby Shepherd 73, Andrew Cartwright 86
Unused Substitutes: Paul Robinson, Nick Cassidy
Hebburn Town Starting Eleven: Mark Foden, Daniel Groves, Darren Lough, Daniel Carson, Jack Donaghy, Damen Mullen (Robbie Spence 43), Michael McKeown, Thomas Potter, Carl Taylor (Olly Martin 56), Amar Purewal (Cedwyn Scott 56), Graeme Armstrong
Yellow Cards: Darren Lough 27, Daniel Groves 56, Jack Donaghy 71
Unused Substitutes: Lewis Suddick, Andrew Coulson