South Shields suffered a second defeat of the season as Easington Colliery battled to a 2-1 win in front of a bumper crowd of 642 at Mariners Park on Saturday.
With Julio Arca watching his new Shields team-mates from the sidelines, and new signings Ryan Noble and Scott Pocklington in the squad, hopes were high for a home victory.
However, Easington again proved to be a tough team for the Mariners to crack, and a superb late winning goal from Paul Wintrip saw them leave South Tyneside with all three points.
Warren Byrne had earlier levelled from the penalty spot after Easington had taken a 1-0 lead into half-time.
Michael Turner came in for the unavailable Jonny Wightman in the only change to the Shields team which won 1-0 at Hebburn Town on Monday, with Noble and Pocklington on the bench.
But it was Easington who started the quicker of the two teams, with Gareth Young forced into a save from David Laight within the first minute after he was played in on the inside-left of the box.
Young also held onto a header from David Paul, while Shields’ first opportunity fell to Stephen Ramsey, whose effort was deflected wide.
Robert Briggs went agonisingly close to giving the Mariners the lead on 17 minutes, with his curled shot from just outside the box on the right bouncing back off the crossbar.
Byrne was the next to go close, as he beat his man inside the box on the left before firing an effort which goalkeeper Kyle Donaldson did well to parry away.
Ben Riding ran onto a deep free-kick from Briggs not long after, and his header just cleared the bar.
It was Easington who took the lead 11 minutes before half-time, though, with Paul winning the ball in the centre of the park before finding Laight, who waited before playing it back to the onrushing Paul. He was by this time in the box, and his effort deflected off Lewis Galpin and past Young.
Noble had been waiting to come on for his Mariners debut before the goal, and he replaced the injured Ramsey before the game kicked off again.
Shields immediately set about finding a leveller, with their first chance to do so falling to Lewis Galpin, who headed wide from a Briggs corner.
Easington could have taken a more commanding lead into half-time when Paul released Laight on the inside-right of the box, and he flashed an effort just over the bar.
Leepaul Scroggins went even closer at the other end when he let fly from 35 yards, with the ball whistling just past the upright.
Noble had his first sight of goal two minutes before the break, but headed over, and at the other end, Young denied Laight before the half-time whistle was blown.
Shields started the second half on the front foot, and were awarded a penalty when Noble was forced wide after taking the ball around the goalkeeper, and then tripped by an Easington defender.
Byrne took responsibility, and smashed the ball low into the centre of the goal, with Donaldson diving to his right.
Noble almost completed the turnaround on 55 minutes, with his shot from the right taking a deflection before being clawed onto the bar, and then cleared off the line.
Donaldson managed to cling onto a 25-yard shot from Briggs at the second attempt, while Easington were dangerous on the break, with one swift move almost leading to an opportunity at the back post before Barrie Smith cut out the danger.
Aiden Heywood sliced a volley wide for the visitors, too, but Shields were having the better of possession, and were only denied a second goal by a superb Donaldson save as he tipped a close-range shot from Briggs over.
Scroggins also had a volley well held by Donaldson, before Easington took the lead with nine minutes of regulation time remaining.
The ball was worked over to Wintrip 25 yards out on the left, and he curled a superb shot beyond Young and into the opposite corner to spark scenes of celebration for the visitors.
Noble headed over as Shields tried everything to notch a leveller, and Ben Riding poked an effort wide, but the Mariners were unable to create a clear-cut chance to take a point as Easington left with all three.
The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when Stokesley Sports Club visit Mariners Park for a 3pm kick-off in what could be Arca’s Shields debut.
The home league game against Billingham Synthonia, which was due to take place on Tuesday, will be rescheduled, with Synners now having an FA Vase replay on the same night.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Smith, Turner (Phillips 68), Galpin, Riding, Chapim, Briggs, Scroggins (c), Ramsey (Noble 35), Byrne, Curry (Hall 86). Subs not used: Pocklington, Heptinstall.
Goals: Byrne (pen 49).