Andrew Ramsbottom’s brace helped Northallerton Town get off to a winning start to the new Northern League Division Two season with a 3-2 victory at South Shields.
Kyle Swankie notched Town’s opening goal of the season before Ramsbottom completed a three-goal salvo in 13 first half minutes.
Town capitalised on a number of defensive errors by the home side to silence a bumper crowd of 417 at South Shields’ Mariners Park – double the highest attendance in the whole of Northern League Division Two last season.
Northallerton’s first goal arrived on 19 minutes when a mix-up at the back led to the ball breaking for Swankie, who sent it first time into an empty net from 25 yards.
The second goal came two minutes later when Lewis Galpin played a high ball back to Gareth Young from the left, and the goalkeeper’s touch was too heavy. It broke for Andrew Ramsbottom, who swept it into the net. Ramsbottom made it three when Colin Anderson played the ball back to him and he then beat two defenders on the inside-right of the box before rolling it into the bottom corner.
Shields got a glorious opportunity to get a goal back before half-time when Shields’ captain Leepaul Scroggins was fouled in the area, but he picked himself up and sent the penalty low and wide of the left-hand post.
Shields pressed Northallerton back for much of the rest of the half andDavid Foley made it 3-2 three minutes into stoppage time when he beat his man on the inside-left of the box, and his shot was too hot to handle for Richardson, who pushed it into the air before it bounced in.
Time was running out, and a final half-chance came when the ball was played over the top to Wayne Buchanan, who was just beaten to it as Northallerton held on.
Town will look to continue their winning start on home turf with visits from Team Northumbria tonight and Stokesley Sports Club on Saturday.