By Andrew McDonnell
Blyth AFC sit top of the Northern League Division One table after a comfortable 2-0 victory over North Shields at the Daren Persson Stadium.
Bobby Taylor fired the visitors ahead after just seven minutes when he struck across goal and into the bottom corner.
The Braves doubled their advantage on 40 minutes when Dan Wilson’s cross was headed home by an unmarked Michael Chilton from around two-yards out.
Blyth had plenty of chances to add to their tally in the second-half, but saw the game through for a routine three points.
From the side that beat West Auckland Town during the week, two changes were made for the Braves as Michael Chilton and Sean McRoberts started in place of Dylan Williamson and Jack Walker.
The visitors started on the front foot and the early pressure paid off as they took the lead after just seven minutes.
Chilton’s tackle on the edge of the hosts’ penalty area played the ball out to McRoberts and the winger found the advancing Taylor, who fired across and into the bottom corner.
Wilson’s effort on 12 minutes came back off the Shields centre-half and the striker then struck into the side-netting from the left side of the box.
The hosts’ first real opening came on 25 minutes, a low cross/shot was pushed away by Chris Bannon and then cleared up the pitch.
Blyth pounced and broke with pace, the ball was worked across to David Robinson, who slipped as he took his shot and the ‘keeper gathered the effort.
McRoberts was causing real problems for the Robins and went close to doubling Blyth’s lead on 27 minutes when he skipped past three players and curled inches wide.
Craig Spooner’s shot, a minute later, continued to rise as the Braves found themselves on top and were dominating.
Wilson got the better of the hosts’ centre-half on 37 minutes, skipping past his challenge, cutting to the byline and driving inside.
His pull-back was initially missed by Chilton, but Taylor latched on to the ball and his effort deflected just wide of the post.
Matty Cornish’s strike came off teammate Gareth Bainbridge in the area, wrong-footing the ‘keeper in the process, and the ball went wide.
However, on 40 minutes, a second goal was scored by the visitors and they certainly warranted their two-goal lead. Wilson’s cross sailed in to the box and an unmarked Chilton headed home from two-yards out.
Things almost got even better before half-time when McRoberts drove to the byline and pulled the ball back, across the penalty area.
Chilton was the quickest to react and his effort was blocked bravely before Adam Forster’s follow-up shot was deflected just wide.
Going into the second-half, the hosts made a double substitution to try and turn their fortunes around, but it was Blyth that had the first opening after half-time.
McRoberts’ cross from the right was glanced wide by former Shields striker, Wilson. Robinson’s strike was also deflected wide a few minutes later.
The two sides exchanged chances around 70 minutes, with Callum Johnston slicing wide and Craig McFarlane firing a free-kick under the wall and at the ‘keeper.
The final 15 minutes of the game belonged to the visitors, they penned their opponents into their own half and created a hatful of chances.
McRoberts’ curling effort was superbly tipped round the post by Greg Purvis. The resulting corner swung to the back post and Curtis Coppen headed back across goal and inches wide.
Substitute Liam Hudson skipped past his marker on 80 minutes, driving into the penalty area, and pulled the ball back for Wilson, whose shot was blocked on the line by Jack Donnison.
The resulting corner came off the Robins’ centre-half and was hammered at goal by Wilson, but the ball struck the ‘keeper straight in the face from point-blank range.
Blyth will be pleased with the three points, and also their performance, and now have a week to prepare for the Emirates FA Cup match with Knaresborough Town.
North Shields: Purvis, Donnison, Aplin, Ormston, Pell, Hughes, Suddick (Cunningham, 46), Sampson (Johnston, 46), Bainbridge, Spooner, Cornish (Cooper, 64)
Subs Not Used: Campbell, Storey
Blyth AFC: Bannon, McFarlane, Lancaster, Forster, Coppen, Tumilty, Taylor (Williamson, 60), Chilton (Hudson, 75), Wilson, Robinson, McRoberts (Rundle, 86)
Subs Not Used: Lowther, Day
Goals: 0-1, 7 min, Taylor; 0-2, 40 min, Chilton
Referee: Samuel Ross
Assistants: Lewis Reynolds and Christopher Armstrong