Marske United 0 VS 0 South Shields
South Shields maintained their place at the top of Northern League Division One with a 0-0 draw at Marske United.
The Mariners were unable to claim a seventh consecutive victory, with a resolute home defence proving difficult to break down, but they did create the best opportunities of the game.
A point was far from a bad return for Shields, who were beaten 3-1 at the GER Stadium in the FA Cup in August.
They were also without the likes of Julio Arca, Gavin Cogdon, David Foley and Ben Riding, while Saturday's hat-trick hero Robert Briggs was only fit enough for a place on the bench.
Carl Finnigan was restored to the starting line-up after being named on the bench for Saturday's win over Ryhope CW because of a slight injury.
He was in the thick of the action early on at Marske, and looked set to give Shields the lead when he was played into an excellent position on nine minutes, only for home goalkeeper Robert Dean to make a fine save with his foot.
At the other end, the hosts had a good chance of their own, but Joss Carmichael was on hand to make an impressive save from a Jamie Owens header.
Carmichael also saved well from Nathan Mulligan, and Shields began to take control as the match progressed.
Marske did well to restrict their opportunities, but Danny Carson almost produced the breakthrough out of the blue for the Mariners on 35 minutes.
After dribbling inside from the left flank, Carson unleashed a stunning drive from 25 yards which beat Dean but struck the post before bouncing to safety.
Glen Butterworth and Owens both sent headers off target for the home side before half-time, but Shields returned from the 15-minute interval with renewed vigour.
They started the second half extremely well, and began to get some joy down the left flank through Wayne Phillips.
An opportunity arrived within two minutes of the restart, with Phillips beating his man before cutting inside and hitting a shot which was well saved by Dean.
A better chance fell the way of Finnigan soon after when Phillips' deep corner from the right was headed into the danger area by Louis Storey and then nodded over the bar at close range by Finnigan.
Shields seemed to be building some momentum, but they were unable to take advantage, and there was little further goalmouth action at either end of the pitch in the time that remained.
Carson had a free-kick saved while Barrie Smith sliced a shot over after a quick break, but Marske continued to defend well and held out for a point.
Shields will aim to get back to winning ways on Saturday, with Newcastle Benfield the visitors to Mariners Park for a 3pm kick-off.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Carmichael, Baxter, Danny Carson, David Carson, Morse, Storey, Smith (Palmer 79), Scroggins (c), Shaw, Finnigan (Briggs 69), Phillips. Subs not used: Connell, Ramsey, Byrne.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.