Match Report: South Shields 1-2 Barrow
South Shields produced an admirable pre-season display as they pushed EFL League Two side Barrow all the way in their first home friendly of the summer.
On a historic day for the club as the main stand at 1st Cloud Arena fully opened for the first time, Barrow took a two-goal lead into half-time thanks to a penalty from Josh Kay and header by Harrison Neal.
The Mariners had been impressive in the opening 45 minutes, though, and deservedly halved the deficit on 71 minutes with a superbly-taken goal from Sam Hodgson from outside the box.
They were unable to force an equaliser despite more bright play late on, but there were plenty of positives for Kevin Phillips and his side to take on a scorching afternoon in South Tyneside.
Shields were the better team in the early stages and twice forced decent saves from Barrow goalkeeper Paul Farman, who kept out a header from Darius Osei and later pushed a powerful Michael Woods drive over the bar.
Myles Boney was also sharp between the sticks for the Mariners to prevent Richard Bennett opening the scoring, but the hosts were more than holding their own until a controversial penalty was awarded to Barrow on 23 minutes when Dylan Mottley-Henry was adjudged to have fouled Patrick Brough.
Kay was clinical from the spot as he dispatched the ball into the bottom corner, sending Boney the wrong way to put his team in front.
The Bluebirds were strong in the remainder of the half and had opportunities to extend their advantage.
Kay fired efforts over and wide before the second goal did arrive two minutes into stoppage time, with Neal rising highest to head home a Sam Foley corner.
Shields almost pulled one back on 54 minutes when Farman fumbled a Martin Smith free-kick, but Bennett hooked the ball off the line.
Josh Gordon hit a shot wide at the other end and Boney saved well with his legs from Billy Waters as Barrow searched for a third goal.
The Mariners retained a threat of their own, though, and Hodgson fired a warning as he headed narrowly wide from a Will Jenkins cross after a corner was cleared back to the midfielder.
Hodgson did reduce the deficit with a wonderful goal on 71 minutes, working the ball onto his right foot before caressing it into the corner of the net from 25 yards as he scored for the third time in pre-season.
There was to be no equaliser for Shields, though there could have been a goal at the other end, with a trialist shooting over from close range.
The Mariners continue their pre-season preparations with an away match against Ashington on Tuesday.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter (Doherty 32), Adams (c), Liddle (Bodenham 61), Broadbent (Marriott 61), Smith (Briggs 61), Heaney (McGeorge 61), Woods (Jenkins 61), Osei (Hodgson 61), McGowan (Massanka 61), Mottley-Henry (Gomes 61).
Goal: Hodgson (71).