South Shields’ return to the FA Cup proved to be short-lived as Marske United came from behind to inflict a 3-1 defeat on the Mariners.
Shields – who had not qualified for the competition for the previous two seasons – went into the match at GER Stadium in good spirits, having enjoyed an impressive pre-season.
However, after going a goal ahead early on thanks to captain Leepaul Scroggins, the Mariners were unable to net again, and were made to pay as Marske struck three times to take their place in the preliminary round.
The Seasiders are a team with good recent pedigree, having won the Northern League two seasons ago and finished runners-up last time out.
Shields looked more than a match for them early on, though, with Gavin Cogdon turning over a good cross from David Carson as they created some early pressure.
That paid off on eight minutes when the ball was laid into the path of Scroggins on the edge of the box, and he sent a terrific half-volley past Robert Dean in the home goal to get the Mariners’ season off to a perfect start.
Marske so nearly drew level soon after, though, with Nathan Mulligan curling a terrific free-kick which bounced off the inside of the post and back into the danger area, where Shields had to make two fine blocks to maintain their advantage.
Julio Arca then had a free-kick tipped over by Dean, while Jon Shaw headed narrowly wide from a corner and David Foley looked consistently dangerous cutting inside from the left flank.
Marske always carried a threat, and Dale Mulligan reminded Shields of that when he volleyed not far off target, but the Mariners should have went further ahead on 31 minutes.
Cogdon was sent clean through on goal and looked odds-on to score his first competitive goal for the club, but he was foiled by Dean as he impressively beat the effort away.
Dean was a thorn in Shields’ side, and denied them again three minutes before the break as he kept out a low effort from Shaw with his foot.
Carson had two efforts blocked as the visitors tried to make their lead a more comfortable one heading into the interval, but they were caught out at the other end as the momentum swung the way of Marske.
Their equaliser came as Andrew Ramsbottom got free on the inside-left of the box, and he clipped the ball over Shields goalkeeper Joss Carmichael to bring the hosts back on level terms.
After the break, both teams struggled to get a grip of it until a crucial seven-minute spell.
Foley appeared certain to score when Shaw played him in on goal, but Dean’s reactions were superb as he stuck out a foot to keep out the shot.
Seven minutes later, Marske grabbed the crucial third goal of the game as an excellent free-kick from the left by Glen Butterworth was nodded in by Nathan Mulligan amid a sea of bodies.
After that, the home side did well to restrict Shields’ opportunities as they marshalled them well away from goal.
Shields, in turn, struggled to break Marske down, with only half opportunities for Ben Riding and Michael Turner coming their way.
Eventually, it was Marske who provided the bit of quality to seal the game as the ball broke to Butterworth on the edge of the box, and he slotted it into the bottom corner to spark huge home celebrations.
That was that as far as the contest was concerned, and Marske progressed to face Chester-le-Street Town in the next round.
For Shields, they are next in action on Saturday as they get their Northern League Division One season underway with a trip to Consett, with Tuesday’s match against Dunston UTS postponed because of their involvement in an FA Cup replay.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Carmichael, Baxter (Smith 25), Turner, Morse, Riding, Arca, David Carson (Byrne 84), Scroggins (c), Shaw, Cogdon (Briggs 71), Foley. Sub not used: Davidson.
Goal: Scroggins (8).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Bob Scott.