South Shields 0 VS 1 Hyde United
Hyde United inflicted South Shields’ first defeat of the season in a tight game at Mariners Park.
Liam Tongue’s goal midway through the second half ended the Mariners’ 100% start to the campaign in front of a crowd of more than 1,200.
Shields – without a number of key players – had a series of efforts on goal but were unable to find a way past visiting goalkeeper Luke Mewitt.
Lee Picton and Graham Fenton handed first starts to four Shields players, with Jordan Hunter, Kieran Charlton, Lee Connelly and Millenic Alli all brought into the line-up.
They started brightly amid a superb atmosphere at Mariners Park, and Mewitt was forced to palm a Hunter cross over the bar after it looked set to loop in.
From the resulting corner, Hunter’s fellow Sunderland loanee Connelly had a shot blocked as the Mariners began to exert some pressure.
Hyde fired Shields a warning when a Jacko Hardacre effort from distance was turned behind by a vital interception from Gary Brown.
The Mariners were frustrated by a number of blocks at the other end, with Connelly and Briggs among those denied, while Hunter drilled the ball just over with a powerful effort from 20 yards.
The home side were not having it all their own way, though, and were indebted to Charlton for keeping the scores level 10 minutes before half-time when his superb block denied Dan Turner.
Shields had two strong penalty appeals turned down before the break and went close again as an Alli cross looked set to be headed in by Nathan Lowe, only for a defender to just get there first.
Tongue whistled a shot from 25 yards into the side netting at the other end but Shields were edging proceedings, and almost went into the lead on the stroke of half-time as a Josh Gillies shot looked destined for the bottom corner before being deflected behind.
The Mariners started the second half well, too, with Mewitt forced to parry away a dangerous low cross from Alli, Hunter firing wide from distance and Connelly getting in behind on the right before being denied by the goalkeeper.
Hyde began to grow in confidence as the second half progressed, though, and fired their first warning as Lowe was forced to block well from Dan O’Brien.
The away side took the lead in the 70th minute when they attacked in numbers and the ball was pulled back to Tongue, who rifled into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The Mariners looked for an immediate response and almost got it when a superb cross from the right by Gillies was forced out for a corner.
They went agonisingly close to an equaliser as Connelly got in behind on the left of the area and drilled a low ball across goal which hit Lee Mason and a defender but somehow stayed out of the net.
Dillon Morse headed over from a Gillies corner and a Connelly cross just evaded Mason, while substitute Callum Guy was denied by yet another terrific block.
Hyde were hanging on at this stage but maintained their lead with eight minutes left as Brown’s header from a Gillies corner was brilliantly saved by Mewitt.
Hunter and Morse both went close before Myles Boney kept Shields in it with a tremendous reaction stop from Tongue.
The Mariners’ last chance was an effort from distance by Gillies which went wide as they continued to be frustrated until the last.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Charlton, Turnbull, Morse, Brown, Gillies, Briggs (c), Connelly, Lowe (Guy 76), Alli (Mason 63). Subs not used: Connell, Wokoma, Thompson.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.