Late goals from Darius Osei and Blair Adams sealed South Shields’ passage into the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup as they saw off the challenge of a plucky Shildon side at Dean Street.
The Mariners were a goal up and looking comfortable after Conor Tee picked out the top corner with a sumptuous strike on 17 minutes.
Shildon equalised from a corner later in the first half, though, and it was not until the closing stages that the Mariners re-established control to secure a 3-1 win.
Osei scored the vital third goal of the game as part of a bright cameo from the bench and Adams had the final say as he prodded home at the back post from a low Jordan Hunter cross.
Graham Fenton named a strong Shields line-up to face a Shildon side which had enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season following their promotion from the Northern League.
The youth of Will Jenkins and Sam Hodgson were supplemented by the experience of Jon Shaw and Alex Kempster as part of four changes from the team which started the victory at Scarborough Athletic five days earlier, with Nathan Lowe and Callum Ross missing out through injury and strike duo Osei and Ntumba Massanka named among the substitutes.
They quickly hit their stride and Tee made his intentions known from the first whistle, hurdling two challenges before seeing his effort from 20 yards drift wide just 30 seconds in.
The Mariners appeared determined to test Shaun Newbrook in the Shildon goal and the first to sting his palms was Hunter with 25 yard drive which the goalkeeper pushed away.
Jenkins, Robert Briggs and Hodgson also threatened in the early exchanges while at the other end, Myles Boney got his body behind a powerful David Atkinson strike to maintain parity.
Tee was at the heart of much of Shields’ best work and his confidence was clear as he looked to score for the fourth consecutive game. He tried to catch Newbrook out with a dipping attempt from long range which moved in the air, but he was equal to the effort.
The next time Tee took aim, though, there was no keeping it out.
Adams played a pass inside from the left channel and Tee shifted his weight onto his right side before taking a touch and caressing the ball into the top corner from 25 yards to continue his outstanding scoring streak.
That gave Shields a 17th minute lead which was warranted given their dominance in the possession and territory stakes, and Tee looked like he might make it a quickfire double when Jenkins bypassed the Shildon midfield with a delightful ball over the top, but as he readied himself to shoot an unfortunate stumble allowed the defence time to recover and his eventual effort was blocked.
Dillon Morse was the next to go close as his header from a Briggs corner was cleared off the line. However, a second goal proved elusive for the visitors.
Shildon equalised against the run of play 11 minutes before half-time from a Joe Posthill corner. His delivery from the right was headed against the bar by Michael Sweet before Briggs nodded it against his own woodwork, and in the scramble which followed, Atkinson became the latest to strike the crossbar but this time the ball bounced down and beyond the line.
Shields were not as fluid as they had been in the early stages but did create three opportunities to go back in front before half-time, with Kempster narrowly failing to convert an Adams cross, Tee striking wide from outside the area and Morse going close with his own attempt from long range.
The Railwaymen frustrated Shields in the second half as they showed considerable improvements. Former Shields Academy player and loanee Will McCamley was a threat on the left flank and he had a decent opportunity within two minutes of the restart, but his shot went comfortably past the post.
Kempster’s final action before being replaced by Osei was a cross which Hunter controlled with his right before striking with his left, forcing Newbrook into a decent save.
Osei was introduced alongside Massanka shortly after the hour but they almost saw their side fall behind when Posthill’s corner fell to Atkinson in the six-yard box, but this time he could not find the net as his effort on the turn cleared the crossbar.
Boney saved from Posthill later in the half while Newbrook denied Massanka, with the tie seemingly heading for a replay as the sides remained locked at 1-1 going into the final 10 minutes.
Substitute Will McGowan almost changed that narrative for the Mariners soon after coming on, driving forward before unleashing a low strike from the edge of the box which struck the post.
The woodwork at that end of the ground had taken a pounding over the course of the game and it was hit again by Osei when he headed Hunter’s cross against it with six minutes left. Osei sensed the chance had not gone, though, and chased the loose ball out to the left channel before beating his man and sending in what appeared to be a cross with his left foot. Yet again, it cannoned against the post but this time it bounced beyond the line and into the opposite side netting to nudge Shields’ noses in front.
Shildon goalkeeper Newbrook was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident in the moments which followed but the home side’s challenge was not over, with Boney called on to make a vital save a minute into stoppage time from a Dean Thexton header.
As stoppage time ticked into a sixth minute and the Mariners advanced up the field, their progression into the next round looked all but assured but they added the third goal to make sure of it with almost the final kicks of the game.
Impressive hold-up play by Massanka released Hunter just outside the six-yard box on the right of the area and he squared it for his fellow wing-back Adams, who drove home his fourth goal of the season to give the travelling support some more to shout about.
Shields – who are at home to Ashton United in the league on Tuesday – now look forward to Monday’s draw for the second qualifying round.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, Jenkins (McGowan 78), Briggs (c), Hodgson (Massanka 63), Tee, Kempster (Osei 63). Subs not used: Steavens, Rossiter.
Goals: Tee (17), Osei (84), Adams (90+6).
Image: Kev Wilson.
Blair Adams continued his excellent goalscoring form as his second half strike earned South Shields a hard-fought 1-0 win at Witton Albion on Saturday.
It was a third successive victory for the Mariners and a third goal in as many games for the left-back as he helped his side to the top of the early Pitching In Northern Premier League table.
Wincham Park is a venue which has provided Shields with plenty of challenges in the past and it proved to be another battle for Graham Fenton’s side.
They were unable to find their best levels in the first half despite dominating possession, with clear-cut opportunities in short supply.
Ntumba Massanka drew a decent save from Witton goalkeeper Greg Hall with a low strike from the edge of the box and Darius Osei was also denied from similar range.
Although the Mariners did not demonstrate the level of sharpness they were looking for in the opening 45 minutes, there were several further sights of goal.
The closest they came before half-time was a bullet of a strike from distance by Osei which narrowly cleared the crossbar, while Callum Ross also provided a threat as he stole the ball in midfield and drove forward before curling a shot over.
As the first half ticked into stoppage time Nathan Lowe collected the ball just inside the Shields half and spotted an opportunity no one else on the pitch did as he fired goalwards. The ball hung in the air and looked set to cause Hall a major problem, but he composed himself well to prevent what would have been a spectacular goal.
Shields were sent out for the second half with the instruction to improve their creativity, intensity and sharpness, but they were dealt a major setback within moments of the restart as Jon Shaw was forced off with an injury.
His replacement, Will Jenkins, performed impressively to lessen the blow and provide the Mariners with added impetus going forward.
In the 51st minute, Shields were left scratching their heads as to how they had not opened the scoring.
A blistering strike from the right by Lowe crashed against the crossbar and bounced just the wrong side of the line before falling to Massanka, who also struck the woodwork with a header.
Shields quickly won possession back and Osei was the next to go close, with his powerful effort from 20 yards kept out by a terrific fingertip save by Hall.
It was exactly the start to the second half the Mariners had been looking for, and their reward came on 57 minutes.
Dillon Morse clipped the ball forward and Massanka held it up brilliantly with his head before laying it off to Adams, who dinked it over a defender to break through on goal before slotting past Hall to find the target yet again and break the deadlock.
Osei created a glorious chance for Shields to double their lead as he split the Witton defence with a ball which found Massanka, but as he attempted to round Hall defenders quickly covered to avert the danger.
Alex Kempster was introduced from the bench in the closing stages and he provided a constant threat as the game became stretched.
He felt he should have had a penalty with 12 minutes left after linking up well with Massanka, but after he was challenged and knocked to the ground, play was waved on.
Kempster was a thorn in Albion’s side again less than a minute later as he was found by Massanka on the right of the area, but this time he fired over.
Witton’s biggest threat came from set-pieces but Shields prevented any pressure being built with a number of clearances and impressive claims from Myles Boney, while they continued to enjoy the majority of possession.
They saw out the victory to send the superb travelling support home happy.
The Mariners will look for a fourth successive win on Tuesday when they welcome FC United of Manchester to 1st Cloud Arena.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Shaw (Jenkins 47), Morse, Bodenham, Osei (Kempster 76), Ross, Massanka, Lowe, Briggs (c). Subs not used: McGowan, Tee, Hodgson.
Goal: Adams (57).
Image: Kev Wilson.
South Shields were in clinical mood as they sealed a deserved 3-1 victory at Stalybridge Celtic to make it two wins from two in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
Two goals in three minutes from Darius Osei and Blair Adams – both assisted by the excellent Jordan Hunter – earned the Mariners a commanding first half lead but they were put under pressure by their hosts after the break.
Graham Fenton’s side held firm after Ioan Evans halved their advantage, though, and were rewarded as Ntumba Massanka slammed home to seal a hard-fought three points on the road.
Shields opted for a 3-5-2 formation at Bower Fold and their wing-back pairing of Adams and Hunter proved to be integral to the win.
However, they found chances difficult to come by in the early stages, with the visitors generally controlling proceedings without penetrating Celtic’s backline.
The Mariners appeared to step it up a gear midway through the first half and after earning a corner on the right, a dangerous delivery by Nathan Lowe curved its way towards goal and needed to be tipped over by Stalybridge goalkeeper Grant Shenton.
Their dominance on the ball got its reward just before the half-hour mark as they converted their first real opening of the game.
Hunter edged the ball inside from the left flank and powered in a delivery which Osei superbly flicked goalwards from 12 yards with the back of his head. It ultimately had too much on it for Shenton as the forward notched his first competitive goal of the season against his former club.
Buoyed by his assist, Hunter roared forward again less than three minutes later as Shields counter-attacked with pace. Conor Tee and Osei combined before Hunter was released down the right and sent a superb low cross into the six-yard box, where his fellow wing-back Adams was on hand to convert after darting inside.
The Mariners had been ruthless with their opportunities and almost added a third early in the second half.
Dillon Morse’s header found Adams 25 yards from goal and with the left-back full of confidence after scoring in successive games, he was eyeing another one. His low effort struck the inside of the post before bouncing to safety.
Shields sensed an opportunity to put the game to bed and created a double chance moments later, but Tee’s strike was beaten away by Shenton and a follow-up shot from Osei was blocked.
The momentum shifted in the 55th minute as Celtic halved their deficit. Callum Harris teased in a superb cross from the left and Evans got on the end of it to nod past Myles Boney.
Boney was at his commanding best in the following minutes as the home side attempted to notch up the pressure in search of an equaliser.
Eventually Shields established control again and they almost restored their two-goal advantage when a delivery from the left by Adams was headed narrowly over by Jack Bodenham.
The away side remained composed as they protected their win, which was secured seven minutes from the end after impressive work from substitutes Will Jenkins and Alex Kempster before the latter delivered an excellent cross which Massanka rifled into the top corner with a quick turn of his body.
Kempster could have added further gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time but curled wide after racing through on goal.
Shields had by then done enough to secure a second successive victory, and they will look to make it three when they travel to Witton Albion on Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, Osei (Kempster 76), Ross, Massanka (Hodgson 89), Lowe, Tee (Jenkins 71). Subs not used: Briggs, McGowan.
Goals: Osei (29), Adams (31), Massanka (83).