Match Report: Bamber Bridge 3-0 South Shields
Bamber Bridge inflicted a first league defeat of the season on South Shields with an impressive performance at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Brig did the damage with three unanswered goals in the first half and although the Mariners pushed hard for a route back into the game after the break, they were unable to find a way through.
Shields – who went unbeaten in their first 12 league games – remained second in the Pitching In Northern Premier League despite the loss, three points behind leaders Matlock Town.
There were few signs of the problems to come when the Mariners got off to a bright start, with Robert Briggs spraying a superb ball out to Alex Kempster, whose cross from the left was cut out by home goalkeeper Mateusz Hewelt.
It was Bamber Bridge who struck first on 14 minutes, though, with Mark Yeates whipping in a corner from the right and top scorer Ewan Bange powering it into the top corner with his head.
Shields had a good spell around the 20 minute mark as Conor Tee was denied by a fine tackle just as he was about to pull the trigger and Jon Shaw was twice kept off the scoresheet by brave blocks.
Brig were clinical when they got a sight of goal and doubled their lead midway through the first half when Finlay Sinclair-Smith forced his way through on the left of the area and toed the ball past Myles Boney.
Sheldon Green added a third for the hosts to make it a mountain to climb for the Mariners as he broke through the centre and found the finish he needed.
There could have been another before half-time, but Boney did well to save with his legs from Yeates.
Shields introduced Darius Osei and Will McGowan at the break and produced a much-improved performance in the second half, but were unable to beat Hewelt.
Osei fired wide within 20 seconds of the restart and Ntumba Massanka hit an effort just past the post as the Mariners started the half well.
Half-time substitute Osei was at the heart of much of Shields’ brightest play but he was twice denied by Hewelt and twice hit shots wide as the visitors were unable to get the goal they needed to put Brig under some pressure.
The closest the Mariners came were headers from Dillon Morse and Kempster which were cleared off the line, with Briggs also unfortunate not to score when he beat Hewelt – but also, narrowly, the crossbar – with a lob in the closing stages.
It was ultimately a night to forget for Shields, who will aim to return to winning ways when they host Basford United on Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Martin, Bodenham, Briggs, Morse, Ross (c), Tee, Lowe (McGowan 46), Shaw (Osei 46), Massanka, Kempster. Subs not used: Rossiter, Hodgson, Stead.