South Shields got their pre-season preparations off to a losing start on Saturday as they were thrashed 5-0 at Billingham Synthonia.

The Mariners were always likely to be in for a tough afternoon against their Northern League Division One opposition, and so it proved.

After a tight opening, Synthonia took control, and scored twice in the first half to take a deserved 2-0 lead into the break.

It could have been a more comfortable advantage for the home side, who hit the woodwork three times in the first 45 minutes.

A new-look Shields side, featuring some trialists, struggled to make an impact on Synthonia, and three goals in 15 second half minutes completed their comfortable win.

The last half-hour was a more even affair, but the home team continued to impress, and look to be a side of real promise heading into next season.

Shields, meanwhile, were soundly beaten, but enjoyed a good workout as they got their pre-season schedule started.

They will continue their preparations for the new Division Two season on Saturday, when they travel to Consett.

South Shields: Tom Courtney, Chris Locke, James Pickering, David Halliday, Jordan Fraser (c), David Conroy, Dave Malloy, Lee Maitland, Stephen Ramsey, Paul Robinson, Chris Flockett.