Ryhope CW were hit for six by rampant South Shields in Saturday’s Ebac Northern League game at Mariners Park – but they shouldn’t be too downhearted.
Few teams will match the ambitious Mariners, who now lead the First Division in their first season back in the top flight.
And with 30 goals from just nine games, they are far and away the top scorers.
Yet it was Gary Pearson’s side who struck first on Saturday, with summer signing James Ellis burying a second-minute free-kick into the bottom corner of the net.
Once Jon Shaw levelled though, the writing was on the wall for the Wearsiders.
Before the break, Julio Arca played in Shaw, who made no mistake, and there was no respite for Ryhope in the second period.
Another four goals flowed from man-of-the-match Robbie Briggs, who rifled a hat-trick, and Craig Baxter and the hosts, cheered on by the majority of fans in a bumper crowd of 1,144, strolled to victory.
The result was a personal triumph for the Mariners’ new managerial team of Graham Fenton, the former North Shields boss, and Lee Picton, whose next challenge is a visit to Marske United – their FA Cup conquerors – tomorrow night.
Ryhope return to action tomorrow when they head to Chester-le-Street looking for only a second win of the league season.
Sunderland RCA are fifth following a heroic performance at Guisborough Town, where they gained a point despite playing for 69 minutes with 10 men.
Goalkeeper Neal Bussey was red-carded for bringing down Connor Smith outside the box and Kevin Connor made way to allow substitute keeper Jordan Harkess to take over.
Despite playing with a numerical disadvantage, Martin Swales’ side twice led before having to settle for a very creditable 2-2 draw.
Liam McBryde was their first marksman, beating Ben Escritt at the near post. After Liam McPhillips headed in the equaliser, RCA were back in front courtesy of Clayton Davis’s clinical finish.
With the visiting defence coping admirably with all Guisbrough could throw at them, an unlikely win for Swales’ men looked to be on the cards – but, in the last minute, McPhillips rose above his marker to head home a free-kick.
RCA entertain Newcastle Benfield tomorrow night.
North Shields now boast the only unbeaten record after Shildon went down 2-1 at Morpeth Town, for whom Michael Chilton and Paul Robinson, with his 11th goal of the season, scored after Paul Connor had given the Railwaymen the lead.
Although their unbeaten record is still intact, the Robins will be disappointed at conceding a 94th-minute equaliser to Nathan Mulligan.
They could only draw 2-2 with Marske United and were toppled from pole position by their rivals across the Tyne.
Dean Holmes and Jack Devlin twice had them in front, but they were undone by man-of-the-match Mulligan, who also converted a penalty.
North Shields head to Consett tomorrow.
Adam Shanks and Jake Fowler netted for Jarrow Roofing in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Whitley Bay, whose marksmen were Arjun Purewal and Kerry Hedley.
Roofing are at home again tomorrow, with West Allotment Celtic the visitors.
Newton Aycliffe moved into third spot with a 2-1 win at Dunston UTS – but it was a close call.
Dennis Knight fired the visitors ahead, but, after summer signing Scott Heslop levelled, a win for the Tynesiders looked the likely outcome.
They dominated the second half, but, with only two minutes remaining, poor defending resulted in Michael Pearson heading into his own net for Aycliffe’s winner.