An early Kyle Patton goal helped a much-changed Shields side to a deserved point against West Auckland Town.
The young winger, one of Wednesday’s squad to retain his place in the team, was on hand in the 19th minute to convert at the far post, with both teams testing eachother early on.
The hosts levelled just before the break when Adam Burnicle finished off a well-worked move which saw Liam Hegarty and Amar Purewal have a hand in the play.
And despite Gareth Bainbridge and Scott McCarthy testing the West Auckland keeper in the second period, the hosts managed to hold the Robins to a draw.
After Wednesday’s disappointing defeat to Guisborough Town in the FA Cup, the visitors were looking to bounce back straight away.
They got off to a good start and in the 10th minute after a high ball from McCarthy found Bainbridge in space, only for the forward to lose his footing before the ball was eventually cleared to safety.
West Auckland, who were still looking for their first three points of the season, were spurred into action by this effort and only one minute later, Nathan Fisher was denied by a brilliant double save from Greg Purvis before centre back Wayne Buchanan thumped the ball away from the Robins goal.
In the 19th minute, the Robins were rewarded for their good start when the ball was squared to Patton inside the box, following a break on goal by Adam Forster, with the young winger finishing smartly past Tom Flynn to give Shields the lead.
West Auckland were rocked and only two minutes later, Paul Van Zandvliet was only inches away from scoring on his debut for the club, following a pin point cross from Chris McDonald.
Four minutes after that, Bainbridge had a golden chance to double the Robins advantage when he connected with a defence splitting ball from McCarthy, only to see his header drift agonizingly wide.
The hosts were really riding their luck at times and on the stroke of the 34 minutes, Flynn came off his line to claim the ball, only for Van Zandvliet to disposses him. Patton had a great chance on the rebound to double the lead but could only fire wide.
Five minutes before the break, West Auckland were wondering how they hadn’t levelled the game up. After Burnicle rattled the crossbar with a close-range shot, Fisher’s follow up effort was superbly saved by Purvis before the home captain blazed the ball over.
However, two minutes before the break, the hosts were level when some good play between Liam Hegarty and Amar Purewal allowed Burnicle enough time to tap in from close range.
The Robins began the second half brightly and in the 52nd minute, Gary Ormston, who had returned to the starting lineup, had a decent chance on goal but could only lift the ball over the crossbar.
West Auckland were creating more chances this half, with both Joe Hillerby and Alex Francis putting pressure on the Robins goal.
However, it was Shields who came closest to scoring a second when Bainbridge was released through on goal in the 60th minute, only to see his shot well saved by the onrushing Flynn.
The hosts were struggling to deal with the Robins’ width and in the 72nd minute, brilliant play between fullback Nick Cassidy and winger McCarthy found Patton once again, but the young winger’s shot was deflected away from goal.
As impressive as the Robins were going forward, their defensive workrate was just as good and in the 74th mintue, a spectacular diving save from Purvis prevented Purewal from giving West Auckland the lead against the run of play.
This proved to be last real effort on goal as both sides were forced to settle for a point.
West Auckland Starting Lineup: Tom Flynn, Liam Hegarty, Anthony Bell (Ross Colquhoun 25), Jamie Cobain, Dan Mitton, Alex Francis, Adam Mitchell, Joe Hillerby, Nathan Fisher (c), Amar Purewal, Adam Burnicle (David Dowson 65)
Unused Substitutes: Paul Connor & Mark Bell
North Shields Starting Lineup: Greg Purvis, Nick Cassidy, Chris McDonald, Gary Ormston, Rhys Williams, Wayne Buchanan, Scott McCarthy (Paul Robinson 74), Adam Forster (c), Gareth Bainbridge (Connor Campbell 84), Paul Van Zandvliet (Ryan Carr 68), Kyle Patton
Unused Substitutes: Cameron Cunningham & Marc Jacques