Birthday boy Dillon Morse ensured South Shields returned to winning ways on a sodden night at Colne on Tuesday.
Morse struck the winner in the second half as the Mariners bounced back after losing their 45-match unbeaten record at Colwyn Bay on Saturday.
Shields’ performance was much-improved, particularly in the first half.
They had two strong penalty appeals turned down before Michael Richardson put them ahead, converting a rebound after Julio Arca’s effort came back off the post via a deflection.
Shields goalkeeper Liam Connell was forced off injured before half-time after a collision. Connell had come out of his area to try to make a vital interception and collided with home striker Lee Gaskell. The ball broke to Gaskell, who chipped an effort not far wide.
Connell’s replacement, debutant Jack Norton, was beaten just two minutes into the second half as Chris Lynch headed home from a corner.
Jamie Holmes went close to restoring the Mariners’ lead when his effort stung the palms of home goalkeeper Hakan Burton.
However, Morse struck the decisive blow soon after on his 23rd birthday as Arca’s corner was flicked onto him by Richardson and he finished from close range.
Despite a number of opportunities, Shields were unable to extend their lead.
Substitutes Luke Sullivan and Carl Finnigan were among those who had decent openings in the closing stages, while Colne were unable to seriously threaten at the other end.
The Mariners saw the game out for a deserved victory as they moved back to the top of EVO-STIK North.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Callaghan, Storey, Morse, Arca (c), Smith, Briggs, Cogdon, Richardson, Holmes. Subs not used: Nicholson, Pattison.
Goals: Richardson (31), Morse (55).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Bob Scott.