Birtley Town 3-1 South Shields
Ten-man South Shields fell to a 3-1 defeat at Birtley Town after conceding three goals in 16 second half minutes.
The game started quietly, with both teams battling to assert themselves in bitterly cold conditions.
Two long range efforts from Luke Richardson for the Mariners went high and wide, but it was the home side that had the best chance of the half.
Shields gave it away at the back two minutes before the break, and the ball was played into the feet of the unmarked Meechak Kanda, who somehow ballooned his effort over from in front of goal.
Birtley got the breakthrough eight minutes after half-time, though.
The Mariners had a corner of their own, but the hosts broke away and Daniel Taggart fired in off the post to leave Shields goalkeeper Jak Wells with no chance.
Just three minutes later it was two, as Birtley benefited from a piece of extremely good fortune.
A weak shot from Callum Hope appeared to be heading straight into the arms of Wells, who was already on the ground having made his dive.
However, the ball then hit a divot and bounced over the keeper to double Birtley’s lead.
Wells made a number of saves to keep it at 2-0 before the home side won a penalty for handball, which Taggart converted.
Shields did threaten a comeback when they scored on 73 minutes, with Ben Riding stabbing home after a ball in from the right.
However, any hope they had was snatched away when striker Stephen Ramsey was shown a second yellow card before the restart for dissent.
The Mariners continued to battle for the remainder of the game, but ultimately had too much to do, and the defeat leaves them 13th in the Northern League Division Two table.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Wells, Locke, Riding, Brown, White, Clarke, Henderson, Richardson, Ramsey (c), Foster (Bulman 57), Feasey.
Goals: Riding (73).
Red cards: Ramsey (73).