Former South Shields loanee Mechack Kanda struck late on for Newcastle Benfield to deny his old club maximum points at Mariners Park on Saturday.
A frustrating afternoon for Shields looked set for a positive outcome when substitute Gavin Cogdon drilled them into the lead with 14 minutes left.
However, with time running out, Kanda capitalised on a loose ball to claim a point for Benfield and halt the Mariners’ 19-match winning streak at home in the league.
Results elsewhere meant Shields stayed top of Northern League Division One, but they will have seen this as an opportunity missed, despite a good display from the visitors.
The Mariners were without the likes of Julio Arca, David Foley and Ben Riding, and Robert Briggs was restored to the starting line-up after only being fit enough for a place on the bench at Marske United in midweek.
In a scrappy opening, neither side was able to create much headway, but Briggs almost lit up the game on 14 minutes when his audacious, hooked effort from the left just cleared the crossbar.
At the other end, Shields goalkeeper Joss Carmichael was on hand to keep out an effort from Matthew Cornish, while some good work from Paul Brayson set up an opportunity for substitute Joshua Scott, who hit it over.
The Mariners continued to plug away as they tried to make the breakthrough, but Benfield proved well-organised and difficult to break down.
Danny Carson hit an effort not far wide after coming inside from the left, while Briggs went closer when his shot from a similar distance struck the bottom of the post.
Shields were handed a blow two minutes before half-time when Jon Shaw was forced off injured, and they went into the break frustrated.
They started the second half much better, though, with Craig Baxter making some surging runs down the right in front of a crowd of 1,166.
However, decent chances for David Palmer and David Carson went begging, and an even better one was missed by Carl Finnigan, who shot wide after being played in on goal.
At the other end, Shields needed to stay alert, with Benfield always threatening on the break. Dillon Morse made a number of excellent interceptions in a fine performance from the centre-back.
Baxter had a great opportunity to score after a good home move, but he put it wide, and Scott hit one off target for Benfield.
It appeared that Shields would take the points when a Baxter cross from the right was missed by Finnigan but then superbly finished by Cogdon at the back post.
Cogdon had been brought on with half an hour remaining in his comeback from a hamstring injury.
However, there was a sting in the tail for the Mariners.
A right-wing cross from the visitors was headed against the bar by Brayson, but Kanda got to the loose ball first, placing it into the bottom corner to deny Shields the three points.
The result means Benfield have now taken points off South Shields, Bishop Auckland, Shildon and Morpeth Town, as well as high-flying Sunderland RCA, so far this season.
The Mariners will aim to get back to winning ways on Tuesday when they visit West Auckland Town for a 7.30pm kick-off.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Carmichael, Baxter, Danny Carson, David Carson, Morse, Storey, Finnigan, Scroggins (c) (Cogdon 61), Shaw (Palmer 43), Briggs, Phillips (Smith 77). Subs not used: Connell, Ramsey.
Goal: Cogdon (76).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.