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North Shields 2 Birtley Town 1 (15/01/2019) – Positive performance as Robins defeat Birtley Town in mid-season friendly

The Robins put in a positive mid-season performance as they come away with a 2-1 win against Division Two Birtley Town.

A well taken goal from Jack Cooper in the first half gave the hosts a deserved lead after good spells of pressure.

Substitute Cam Cunningham doubled the Robins lead midway through the second half with a tidy finish following some brilliant midfield play.

Birtley did pull one back with minutes left on the clock to give the Robins a nervy finish, however, the hosts held on for the victory.

After an even opening spell from both teams, the Robins were the first to have a shot on goal when a curled effort from Paul Robinson stung the palms of the Birtley keeper.

It only took another four minutes for the Robins to open the scoring when, after both Robinson and Sean McRoberts had efforts denied by the post and the keeper, Jack Cooper was on hand to hammer home the rebounded ball.

One minute later, the Robins almost had a second goal when Gary Day worked his way into the box following some top notch footwork, however, the Birtley shot stopper made a terrific save.

It seemed as though a second goal for the hosts was on the horizon and in the 24th minute, the Birtley keeper was on hand to pull of a scrambling save when Day curled another effort towards goal from the angle.

However, as the first half went on, the visitors dealt well with the pressure and even caused a headache or two of their own on the Robins back line.

As the 33rd minute of the game approached, Jordan Summerly came ever so close to getting that elusive second goal when the young full back fired at goal from close range. Once again, the Birtley keeper was on hand to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Just before the half time whistle, the hosts had one more chance to gain a two-goal lead when Adam Forster had a chance on goal from the corner of the six yard box. Sadly, under extreme pressure from a Birtley defender, his effort was skewed wide.

After a quiet opening fifteen minutes to the second half, the Robins continued to pepper the visitors goal and after an excellent run down the wing from Cooper, his cross into the box skipped past everyone and was eventually cleared to safety.

The second half was broken up by a flurry of substitutions for both teams and it was one of those substitutes who helped to double the Robins lead.

In the 66th minute, with Birtley Town having had one or two good attacks of their own, Cunningham was in the right place at the right time to fire the ball home past the resilient visiting keeper, following some excellent play from Robinson.

Tails were up now and the hosts seemed intent on scoring a third and maybe a fourth. They had a chance to do just this only one minute later when Cunningham once again caused the Birtley defence trouble, however, the keeper was on hand to pull off yet another save.

The visitors were now starting to really push up against the Robins defence and if not for an excellent goal line clearence from Gary Ormston in the 74th minute, they would have certainly found a way back into the game.

Following another goal line clearance from Ormston in the 84th minute, Birtley were able to get themselves back into this game when their number 2 collected the ball before firing a ferocious shot past Michael Robinson.

There was one final chance for the visitors to earn themselves a draw when their number 11 fizzed in a shot toward the Robins goal, only for the ball to drift narrowly over the crossbar.