A solo Gary Day strike was enough for the Robins to progress to the Northumberland Senior Cup final at the expense of Division Two side West Allotment Celtic.
After a back-and-forth start to the game, Day’s strike midway through the first half gave the Robins the lead heading into the break.
The lead could have been extended further in the second half but some excellent defending from West Allotment was enough to keep the Robins at bay.
And whilst the hosts pressed forwards in search of an equaliser, the Robins back line remained impenetrable, with a final at St James’ Park a just reward.
In baltic conditions, it was West Allotment who threatened to score first when Matthew Hayton shot at goal in the second minute, only for the ball to sail harmlessly wide of the untroubled Michael Robinson.
As the hosts pressed forward, it created plenty of space for Paul Robinson and the returning Jordan Summerly to break down the wing. Unfortunately for Shields, their strong starts to the game didn’t result in an early opening goal.
Both teams were now up and running in this game, however, despite some good work from both West Allotment’s and the Robin’s midfield, neither goal was greatly troubled.
All this changed in the 20th minute when Day came close to giving the visitors the lead after connecting with a deep swinging corner. Despite his effort, Allotment keeper Sean Korsbo was able to make a smart save from close range.
Coming that close to scoring seemed to be the opening that the Robins were looking for and if it wasn’t for some brilliant defending in the 22nd minute, Robinson’s excellent run down the left wing could have been the breakthrough.
Despite being under pressure, West Allotment were not content with playing defensively; with two efforts from Hayton testing Robinson’s reflexes in the 23rd and 25th minute.
The game was now very end to end, with both sides still unable to convert their chances. However, the Robins’ quality was beginning to shine through and in the 26th minute, an outstanding run and cross from Jack Donnison seemed to evade every single red shirt in the Allotment area.
Not wanting to be undone by his fellow fullback, Summerly marauded forwards two minutes later and following a deft flick from Robinson, he was played through on goal but could only fire wide.
The pressure finally paid off for the visitors as on the stroke of 30 minutes, Day benefitted from some more brilliant work from Summerly to bundle the ball over the goal line from close range, giving the Robins a deserved lead.
Sensing an opportunity to take this game away from West Allotment, the Robins pressed forwards and in the 33rd minute, a back post header from Carr, following a Robinson freekick, came within inches of grazing the post.
With Shields pressing forward , Allotment found space in the 35th minute to make a break for it and test the Robins defence. Despite having plenty of space in which to fashion a shot on goal, Michael Baxter seemed to slice at the ball, causing it to skew well wide.
After that first half, it was clear that a second goal was required for the Robins and if not for more excellent Allotment defending in the 47th minute, Cam Cunningham’s weighted cross would have found Robinson in space, ready to pounce.
A flurry of chances were now falling the way of the visitors and a second goal seemed inevitable. Efforts from Spooner, Day and Robinson gave the hosts something to think about but the score still remained 1-0.
With the game entering the final 20 minutes, it was clear how motivated West Allotment were to get on the scoresheet as a flurry of half chances were now falling their way.
However, it took until the 79th minute before Robinson needed to dirty his gloves as a close-range effort at the near post needed parrying to safety.
Coming this close to a leveller really spurred the hosts on as only two minutes later, Robinson was once again called into action when he was able to get his body behind a curling effort from inside the area.
The Robins defence was really feeling the pressure being put on them by their Division Two opponents and in the 85th minute, they almost buckled. After a scramble in the Shields penalty area, a goalbound shot was excellently hooked off the line by Donnison before the ball was eventually cleared to safety.
Despite the late pressure and another fine save from Robinson, West Allotment were unable to figure out the Robins defence, with the visitors holding on to their 1-0 lead and booking their place in the final at St James’ Park.
Final Score: West Allotment Celtic 0 North Shields 1
Referee: Mr C Ford
West Allotment Celtic Starting Eleven: Sean Korsbo, Kurt Burns (Bruno Mendes-Correia 85) Michael Leech, Gilberto Chapim (Dean Walker 73), Jack Errington (c), Michael Scott, Michael Baxter, Jacob Forster, Matthew Hayton, Shane Jones, Regan Patterson (Mikel Thompson 77)
Yellow Cards: Jacob Forster 45
Unused Substitutes: Matthew Bailey, Luke Parkinson
North Shields Starting Eleven: Michael Robinson, Jack Donnison, Jordan Summerly, David Hall (Gary Ormston 62), Josh Nearney, Kevin Hughes (c), Cameron Cunningham, Craig Spooner, Gary Day (Callum Johnston 73), Ryan Carr, Paul Robinson (Sean McRoberts 73)
Yellow Cards: Jordan Summerly 67
Unused Substitutes: Chris McDonald, Greg Purvis