South Shields suffered a night of frustration as they exited the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup despite creating a succession of clear-cut chances at Billingham Synthonia.

The Mariners were in the ascendancy for much of the game, and hit the woodwork three times before substitute John Grey scored with four minutes of the quarter-final remaining.

However, by then it was almost too late for Shields, who had fallen 2-0 behind in the first half to two Sam Garvie penalties.

Despite piling on the pressure in the closing stages, they were unable to force a dramatic equaliser to take it to extra-time as their hopes in the competition were ended.

It was a second defeat in less than a month for Shields at Synthonia, who had claimed a dramatic smash-and-grab victory in the league fixture in late-January.

The Mariners will have left Billingham with a sense of deja vu after a similarly dominant performance in the quarter-final, although this time they were able to convert their possession into chances, unlike the league fixture.

The first opportunity came less than two minutes in after Martyn Coleman charged down the right and pulled back a cross which hit a home defender and was goal-bound before being cleared by the man on the line.

Julio Arca was the next provider as he lofted a superb ball over the top for Coleman, and the former Penrith striker sent a dipping half volley just wide.

Shields continued to press, and had a number of half-chances before Synthonia broke away and were awarded a penalty when Ibby Hassan fouled Garvie in the box.

Garvie picked himself up and made no mistake from the spot as he sent Scott Pocklington the wrong way, with the ball nestling in the bottom corner.

The game continued with much the same pattern as the Mariners pinned their opponents back, and Robert Briggs must have thought he had levelled when his sweet free-kick struck the inside of the post, only for it to then bounce to safety.

A Michael Turner long throw then fell the way of Coleman, and after he had shown good strength to hold off his man, he was denied by an impressive save by home goalkeeper Barry Poskett, who would continue to thwart Jon King’s side throughout the 90 minutes.

He also denied Foley, whose crisp strike was destined for the top corner on 18 minutes, while Briggs had one shot blocked and another saved.

Again, though, Shields were caught out at the other end, and Michael Turner fouled Garvie in a position the referee adjudged to be just inside the box.

Again, Garvie picked his spot from 12 yards, sending the ball low into the bottom corner, despite Pocklington guessing the correct way this time.

That gave Shields a lot to do against a resolute defence, but with the quantity of chances they were creating, they would have remained confident.

In the period between the goal and half-time, though, their opportunities were limited, although Coleman did have a good sight of goal after a Briggs free-kick was dropped by Poskett, but he fired over.

The Mariners went in at the break facing a two-goal deficit, and at the start of the second half, they pressed for an early way back into it.

Coleman chipped the goalkeeper, but saw his effort scrambled away by a defender, while Hassan headed not far over from a Briggs free-kick and Turner had a header cleared off the line before Coleman hit one over.

Turner drove down the left flank eight minutes into the second period, and his effort flashed across the box to no avail.

Lewis Teasdale was introduced from the bench soon after, and almost made an immediate impact when he let fly with a stunning shot from 30 yards, but Poskett clawed the effort to safety.

Arca then conjured up a chance for Coleman with a lofted ball in from the left, but the striker was just unable to stretch enough to turn it home.

It felt as though a goal was coming, and it almost arrived on 58 minutes when a ball into the box from the right glanced off a home defender into the path of Foley in front of goal, but he was unable to react quickly enough and could only touch it wide.

It was not until Foley picked up the ball from distance with 13 minutes left that Shields seriously threatened again. Out of nothing, he unleashed a stunning shot which rattled the crossbar and appeared to spark the Mariners into life.

With the travelling support still fully behind their team, there was still time for Shields to salvage their place in the cup, but the game appeared to be up with five minutes remaining when a ball into the area eventually fell to Scroggins, but he could only hit the post.

Less than a minute later, though, the Mariners threw themselves a lifeline when Coleman rolled his man on the inside-right of the box before passing the ball across goal, where Grey was on hand to convert.

That made it a nervy ending for Synthonia, and almost immediately from the restart, Foley attacked with purpose down the left before cutting inside and firing a shot wide.

Soon after, big chances in the box fell to Grey and Mechack Kanda, but both saw their efforts blocked.

An even better opportunity fell the way of Coleman a minute into stoppage time when he turned in the penalty area before hitting towards goal, and the ball hit the chest of Poskett from point-blank range as the hosts again survived.

Shields threw bodies forward, and from a Foley corner, Teasdale did not miss the target by far before Briggs had a shot blocked and Coleman had an effort deflected over as time ticked away.

Somehow, the Mariners could not find more than one goal on a night they created a multitude of clear-cut chances, and it was Synthonia who progressed to the semi-finals of the competition.

Shields will hope to recover from the disappointment on Saturday, when Chester-le-Street Town visit Mariners Park for a league match between two promotion contenders.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Turner, Hall (Grey 69), Hassan, Arca (Kanda 77), Foley, Scroggins (c), Coleman, Briggs, Phillips (Teasdale 54). Subs not used: Young.

Goal: Grey (86).

Attendance: 212.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.

South Shields turned in a five-star performance as they beat neighbours Hebburn Town in a seven-goal thriller.

In difficult conditions at Mariners Park, Martyn Coleman scored a brace on his Shields debut to help them into the quarter-finals of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.

Robert Briggs was also on target twice, while Mechack Kanda added the fifth as he scored his first goal for the club.

However, Shields – who were missing the suspended Julio Arca and Leepaul Scroggins – did not have it all their own way, with Hebburn producing a spirited performance.

The Hornets started the stronger of the two teams, and almost went ahead early on when Shields goalkeeper Gareth Young parried a cross from Scott Wallace, and the rebound from Marc Costello was excellently blocked.

On six minutes, Scott Oliver’s side did take the lead when a cross from the left by Lee McMahon caught out Young at his near post as it caught the wind.

It handed McMahon a goal against his former club, and just two minutes later, he almost added a second when Young kept out his effort.

Seconds earlier, Hebburn had hit the bar, with Shields having to weather a storm in the rainy conditions.

The longer the game went on, though, the more the hosts wrestled control, with Coleman particularly impressive on his debut following his arrival from Penrith.

A shot from the striker almost deceived visiting goalkeeper Phil Holgate, who pushed the ball out to Briggs, and his effort was blocked.

Coleman threatened again when he twisted and turned outside the box before firing wide, before Briggs dragged the Mariners level on 20 minutes.

Lewis Teasdale teed him up 25 yards out, and Briggs hammered the ball into the bottom corner, with the goalkeeper unmoved.

Both sides continued to create chances, with Daryll Hall heading a decent opportunity over, while at the other end, only a tremendous last-ditch tackle by Ibby Hassan prevented Glen Hargrave having a free run on goal.

A crowd of 477 was present at Mariners Park, despite the awful conditions, and they saw Briggs go close on the half-hour mark as Holgate pushed out his effort from the edge of the box.

Coleman also went close with a header as Holgate just prevented it crossing the line, while Michael Turner’s shot was blocked.

Four minutes before the break, Coleman got off the mark for his new club when a header forward from Hassan put him through on the inside-right channel, and he raced through on goal before firing low past Holgate.

On the stroke of half-time, Callum Smith volleyed over for Hebburn, and after the break, the conditions became ever more difficult in the mud.

Briggs almost put Shields 3-1 ahead when his corner from the left struck the bar, bounced up and then hit the woodwork again.

However, Hebburn were still in the game, and proved that by pulling back on level terms when Wallace pulled the ball back to Smith six yards out and he fired home.

Shields showed good character by responding almost immediately.

Briggs teased in a low cross from the left which hit the post, and the ball came out to Coleman, who ruthlessly powered in the rebound.

The Mariners went about sealing their place in the last eight, but Teasdale saw a shot tremendously cleared off the line before Phillips headed wide.

As Shields pressed for a fourth, Coleman almost caught out the goalkeeper at the near post, and Holgate then brilliantly kept out a snap-shot from substitute David Foley with one hand.

Briggs virtually sealed the home win when Kanda created an opportunity for him from the right, and the midfielder then danced past a defender before hitting into the bottom corner.

Kanda got on the scoresheet himself eight minutes before the end. Coleman held the ball up superbly on the halfway line to start the Shields attack, and the ball eventually found its way to Kanda, who fired low into the opposite corner.

Towards the end, Coleman went close to claiming his hat-trick, but the ball caught up in the mud as he looked set to run through on goal, while his cross-shot from the right was well kept out by Holgate.

One of the last actions of the game was a shot over from Hargrave, but the Mariners had already sealed their passage into the quarter-finals by then.

Shields will travel to Billingham Synthonia in the next round, while tomorrow, they are due to host North Shields in the League Cup.

Hebburn, meanwhile, host Darlington RA on Saturday.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Carson, Turner, Hall (c), Hassan, Smith, Sakr (Foley 55), Briggs, Coleman, Teasdale (Riding 69), Phillips (Kanda 75). Subs not used: Pocklington, Ramsey.

Goals: Briggs (20, 79), Coleman (41, 65), Kanda (82).

HEBBURN TOWN: Holgate, Malley, Wallace, Pegram, Christopher Smith (c), Summers, Callum Smith, Costello, McMahon, Hargrave, Feasey. Subs (from): Hubery, Downey, North, Talbot.

Attendance: 477.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.