Consett 3 VS 3 South Shields
Jon Shaw's last minute strike completed a superb second half comeback from South Shields as they came from 3-1 down to take a point from Consett.
The Mariners looked like they were set for defeat in their opening Northern League Division One game, but goals from Julio Arca and Shaw in the second half gave things a different complexion.
It was a difficult encounter for Shields on the 3G surface at Belle View, with Consett having started the season with two consecutive victories, including a 7-0 league win over Ashington on Tuesday.
The Mariners were also missing captain Leepaul Scroggins due to holiday, and went into the match on the back of a season-opening 3-1 loss in the FA Cup at Marske United last Saturday.
Chris Elliott made his debut in goal, though, after receiving international clearance, and he made some impressive saves in the first half to keep them in the game.
Early on, David Carson had an effort well saved for Shields, but Consett started the quicker of the two teams, and Jake Stafford fired them in front on seven minutes when the ball fell to him after an Elliott save, and he slammed it into the bottom corner.
Soon after, he denied Michael Sweet as the Mariners struggled to gain a foothold at Belle View.
However, they were provided with just that by Gavin Cogdon in the 17th minute as he scored his first competitive goal for the club. After collecting the ball midway inside the Consett half, he drove forward before slotting it into the bottom of the net from the edge of the box.
Shields were unable to build on that, though, and almost immediately surrendered parity when they gave it away at the back, only for Elliott to excellently deny Luke Sullivan in a one-on-one.
Elliott made an even better save moments later when he tipped a Sweet header onto the crossbar, but he was powerless to prevent the same player from restoring the home advantage as he powerfully nodded a Sullivan cross into the top corner.
Although the Mariners were unable to get their football flowing, they always possessed a threat, and they almost levelled when Arca had an effort cleared off the line.
However, the all-important fourth goal of the game went the way of the hosts when Sullivan nipped in behind on the inside-right of the box before beating Elliott.
After the break, Shields looked more confident on the ball, and also restricted Consett better.
Elliott still needed to be on hand to keep out an effort from Sullivan, but the Mariners got the route back into the game they were searching for when Barrie Smith was fouled in the area, with Arca making no mistake from the spot as he rattled it past home goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald.
Arca almost fired Shields back on level terms soon after as he hit one just wide from the edge of the box, but it looked like time was beginning to run out for the visitors when Cogdon also aimed an effort not far off target.
Sullivan could have put the game to bed four minutes from the end as he brought the ball inside from the right before shooting narrowly wide.
That seemed to spark a late Shields fightback, and Louis Storey went agonisingly close to scoring the leveller as his header from a Ben Riding throw-in bounce back off the post. Cogdon collected the ball and fired goalwards, but his effort was blocked and appeals for a penalty for handball were waved away.
Shields' equaliser did eventually come, though, in the 90th minute when Carson went on a surging run through the centre from the left, and when he played it into Shaw, there was only one thing on the striker's mind as he rattled it into the bottom corner.
With momentum behind them and still stoppage time to play, there were some hopes that the Mariners could go on and snatch a dramatic victory, but Consett held firm and when the referee's final whistle blew, the point gained must have felt like three for Shields.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Elliott, Smith (Byrne 83), Turner, Danny Carson, Riding, Arca (c), David Carson, Briggs (Storey 59), Shaw, Cogdon, Foley. Subs not used: Carmichael, Morse.
Goals: Cogdon (17), Arca (pen 62), Shaw (90).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.