South Shields’ defence of the Durham Challenge Cup came to an end as Hartlepool United scored a late equaliser before beating them on penalties on Tuesday.

The Mariners were in control for much of the game at Victoria Park, and looked on course for victory thanks to a first half Michael Richardson goal.

However, Pools equalised against the run of play three minutes before the end and punished Shields for their missed chances by coming out on top in spot-kicks.

The Mariners had a number of half chances in the early stages, the best of which saw Richardson turn a cross from Aksel Juul over the bar.

They broke the deadlock in the 35th minute as Richardson received the ball just outside the box on the left before cutting inside and curling a tremendous shot into the top corner.

Graeme Armstrong could have doubled Shields’ lead, but he was denied at close range by Pools goalkeeper Ryan Catterick before being withdrawn with a hamstring injury.

Catterick did well to save from Richardson and Louis Storey before the break as the visitors tried to press home their advantage.

Hartlepool started the second half well, and could have levelled when Liam Travers was found 12 yards out, but he skied his effort.

Shields had numerous chances to kill the quarter-final tie off.

Debutant Jack Devlin was denied by a fine Catterick save, while Richardson could only shoot wide after being played in on the left.

At the other end, Dillon Morse kept Shields ahead with a goal-line clearance from Liam Pritchard.

Alex Nicholson, Juul and Richardson were all denied by Catterick in the closing stages as Shields’ efforts to score a crucial second goal were thwarted.

They were made to pay when Josh Hawkes received the ball with his back to goal in the 87th minute before turning and picking out the bottom corner.

Travers almost won it for Pools with a 40 yards chip just before the end, but the game went to penalties.

Morse and Pattison both saw their spot-kicks saved by Catterick as Shields crashed out 4-3 on penalties.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Woolston, Baxter, Nicholson, Shaw (c) (Lough 51), Morse, Storey, Richardson, Briggs, Armstrong (Devlin 38), Juul, Holmes (Pattison 59). Subs not used: Connell, Smith.

Goal: Richardson (35).

Attendance: 754.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.

South Shields travel to Hartlepool United on Tuesday as they bid to continue their defence of the Durham Challenge Cup.

The Mariners are returning to Victoria Park, which was the venue for last season’s final as they overcame Billingham Synthonia with a 2-0 victory.

They will do so in confident mood following Saturday’s excellent 3-0 win over promotion rivals Hyde United in the Evo-Stik North Division.

Shields and Pools met in the quarter-final of the competition last season, with the Mariners running out 3-0 winners on home soil.

A place in the last four is again at stake, with Hartlepool expected to field a side of mostly reserves.

Kick-off at Victoria Park – which has a post code of TS24 8BZ – is at 7.30pm.

Admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.

The Camerons Cyril Knowles Stand will be open for the fixture, with turnstiles three and four on Clarence Road to be open on the night for both sets of supporters.

South Shields have completed the signing of former Stoke City youngster Jack Devlin on a short-term deal.

The striker’s move is with a view to the arrangement becoming longer-term should the 19-year-old impress at Mariners Park.

Devlin earned a switch to the Potteries after impressive Northern League spells with Newcastle Benfield, North Shields and Easington Colliery, where he earned a reputation for scoring all types of goals.

He worked with Graham Fenton during his time at North Shields, and the Mariners joint manager is excited about the prospect of linking up with the youngster again.

Fenton said: “We’re delighted to have Dev at the club. It has come at a very good time for us with what has happened on the injury front with Carl Finnigan and Gavin Cogdon recently.

“It’s a good opportunity for Dev to come in and really stake his claim for a place in the squad.

“It’s over to him to prove himself over the period he’s here to earn himself a longer-term contract.

“Having worked with Jack before, I’m really excited by what he’s capable of.

“He has got everything as a centre forward. He can hold it up, run in behind and score all types of goals, from the spectacular to the tap-in.”

Devlin – who departed Stoke City last Friday – is available to make his debut for the Mariners in Tuesday’s Durham Challenge Cup tie at Hartlepool United.

He said: “I’m very pleased to be here and looking forward to the opportunity.

“I know Graham from my North Shields days, so it will be really good to link up with him and Lee Picton here.

“Graham was a massive influence in me coming here.

“He’s probably the best coach I’ve played under since I started playing men’s football.

“I want to help us win the league, win as many trophies as possible and score as many goals as possible.”