Gateshead 1-0 South Shields
South Shields’ pre-season programme ended with a narrow defeat at Gateshead on Saturday.
In a game of few chances, Jack Hunter headed in the only goal for the National League North side midway through the second half.
Shields had defeated Gateshead’s divisional rivals York City 3-0 four days earlier, but were unable to find the same rhythm in this behind closed doors game.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action in the first half and the closest either side came was a Jordan Preston effort for the home team which was parried by Myles Boney, who also kept out the rebound from Greg Olley.
George Smith was a lively presence on the left flank for the Heed and saw plenty of the ball, with one of his crosses sent wide by Olley while he headed another opportunity wide himself.
Gateshead’s Nicky Deverdics and Shields’ Nathan Lowe were both off target with efforts from distance before the half-time whistle, which gave both sides an opportunity to regroup and improve their attacking purpose.
The Mariners had some bright moments in the early stages of the second half but fell behind in the 63rd minute.
Deverdics curled in a dangerous corner from the right and Hunter stole a march on his marker to head in at the near post.
It would prove to be the winner, although Shields did press gamely for an equaliser in the closing stages after introducing a number of substitutes.
One of them, Lee Mason, went agonsingly close to bringing his side level 14 minutes before the end.
Josh Gillies provided him with the ball outside the box on the left and he got it out of his feet before whipping a shot against the crossbar.
Darius Osei was another player brought on by the Mariners as he got some much-needed minutes in the tank, and he was a dangerous presence in the closing stages.
He had half a chance to equalise towards the end when Craig Baxter found him in the penalty area, but after a fine turn he was denied by a block as Gateshead preserved their clean sheet.
Former Shields midfielder Matty Pattison was brought on by Gateshead and he had the home side’s final attempt, with his effort from distance comfortably clearing Boney’s crossbar.
There was to be no late leveller for Shields, though, as a unique pre-season was brought to an end.
The Mariners will kick-off their Northern Premier League campaign at home to Mickleover on Saturday.
With Shields restricted to a capacity of 600 at 1st Cloud Arena, ticket details are awaited in the coming days, although it is anticipated only season ticket holders and an allocation of away supporters will be in attendance at this stage.
South Shields:: Boney, Hunter, Baxter, Ross (Turnbull 64), Morse (Agnew 77), Brown (Shaw 66), Kempster (Mason 71), Briggs (c) (Verstraaten 64), Gilchrist (Osei 64), Lowe (Thompson 64), Gillies (Jenkins 77). Subs not used: Coombe, McCamley, Hodgson.
Image: Kev Wilson.