Stockton Town 4-1 South Shields
South Shields fell to a 4-1 defeat at Stockton Town as they continued their preparations for the new season on Wednesday.
The Mariners opened the scoring with a well-directed header from Robert Briggs but three goals in four minutes from the hosts towards the end of the first half turned the game on its head.
Shields lost Nathan Lowe to a straight red card early in the second half and the Anchors added a fourth from the penalty spot in stoppage time to complete the scoring.
Stockton were strong opposition for the Mariners, having comfortably led the Northern League last season before the campaign was brought to a premature close.
They fired their visitors an early warning when Kevin Hayes curled a shot wide but Shields had the bulk of the possession and took the lead on 24 minutes when Briggs met an Alex Kempster corner with a towering header and picked out the top corner.
Josh Gillies was particularly influential on the left flank and he almost doubled the Mariners’ advantage 10 minutes before half-time, but his effort struck the crossbar.
Stockton did carry a threat of their own and Hayes had another opportunity before they did pull back on level terms, with Nathan Mulligan firing home after being found by Michael Roberts.
That sparked a flurry of attacks from the home side and they added a second less than a minute later as Tom Portas beat Myles Boney with a terrific chip.
In the 41st minute a shell-shocked Shields found themselves 3-1 behind, just moments after Kempster had almost equalised at the other end. Mulligan was again the scorer as he finished clinically at the end of a quick counter-attack.
Roberts went close to adding number four 10 minutes into the second half only to be denied by a goal-line clearance from Dillon Morse, and the visitors’ task was made tougher soon after as Lowe was given his marching orders for a late challenge in midfield.
The 10 men of Shields battled valiantly in the remainder of the game but were unable to find a breakthrough, with substitute Will McCamley going closest as his effort was deflected narrowly past the post.
Stockton were awarded a penalty for handball in the final minute and Jamie Owens converted from the spot to complete a 4-1 victory for the hosts.
South Shields: Boney, Baxter, Adams, Ross (Thompson 34), Morse, Verstraaten, Kempster (Trialist 80), Briggs (c), Gilchrist (Hodgson 60), Lowe, Gillies (McCamley 60). Subs not used: Steavens, Lockey, Croft, Wade, Jenkins.