South Shields suffered late disappointment as a header five minutes into second half stoppage time denied them maximum points at Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday.

The Mariners were on course to move level on points with Pitching In Northern Premier League leaders Buxton until Stefan Galinski’s equaliser at the death.

Dillon Morse had headed Shields into a first half lead but the away side were unable to hang on as they remained two points off the top with four league matches remaining.

In-form Darius Osei was a key part of the Shields frontline and he had the first opportunity of the game, sending a powerful half-volley into the side netting after controlling a Robert Briggs pass with his chest.

The hosts had a decent chance of their own when Cameron Johnson linked up with Jovon Makama before scooping a shot wide from 12 yards.

There was little in the way of clear-cut openings from either side, though the Mariners did look the more threatening outfit and after Blair Adams dragged an effort wide from the left of the area, they found the breakthrough from a set-piece 10 minutes before half-time.

Briggs floated an inviting corner to the back post and Morse headed it down and into the net to hand Shields a lead they would carry into the break comfortably.

A response was expected from the home side after the interval and Gainsborough delivered that. They went close within five minutes of the restart when Morgan Worsfold-Gregg teased in a delivery from the left which just evaded a touch and dropped narrowly wide.

Myles Boney kept out a volley from Galinski but was beaten by a low strike from Johnson which whistled inches past the post.

Trinity were generating momentum but Shields held firm, with Gainsborough mainly restricted to efforts from distance. One of them came from substitute Jack Gibson and was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Boney.

Osei had a good chance to effectively make the points safe, but his shot from close range cleared the crossbar.

Gainsborough pressurised their visitors in the closing stages, with Makama denied by a brilliant block from Jack Bodenham and then hitting the post with a free-kick from 20 yards three minutes into stoppage time. The resulting scramble was eventually cleared.

Shields will have hoped that was the stroke of luck they needed to see the game out, but it was not to be.

With almost the last action of the match, Worsfold-Gregg curled in a free-kick from 15 yards outside the Shields box and Galinski rose highest to nod it into the bottom corner and seal Gainsborough a point.

It was a bitter blow for the Mariners but with four games remaining, they remain very much in the title race.

They will aim to boost their chances when they host Stalybridge Celtic next Saturday.

South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, Wilding, Briggs, Hodgson (Hooper 67), McGowan (Jenkins 48), Osei (Main 84). Subs not used: Kempster, Tee.

Goal: Morse (35).

Attendance: 807.

Image: Kev Wilson.

South Shields travel to Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday for another important game in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

Last weekend’s 2-0 win over Stafford Rangers left Shields second in the table with five matches remaining, trailing leaders Buxton by two points.

Kevin Phillips’ side are six points ahead of third-placed Matlock Town but with just one automatic promotion spot up for grabs, every fixture is so crucial.

Gainsborough are battling against relegation and sit 18th in the table following a 1-0 defeat at Hyde United last weekend. Shields won the reverse fixture 3-1 in November.

Manager’s view

Shields manager Phillips is hoping to use last Saturday’s performance as a springboard to improve the Mariners’ results on their travels.

He said: “We were absolutely delighted with the result last week against a Stafford team which had the best away record in the league.

“We’ve had plenty of rest and now it’s another away game.

“I don’t need to highlight the importance of it.

“Our away record hasn’t been particularly great of late, but we’re going into the game full of confidence and looking to pick up three points.”

Phillips is expecting to come up against a team fighting for their lives in Lincolnshire on Saturday.

He added: “No team gives you an easy game, but especially one that is battling to avoid relegation.

“They’ll be hugely determined to get a positive result but so are we, so it makes for an entertaining afternoon.

“Thankfully we’ve got a strong squad to choose from, but I’m going to have to utilise the subs at this stage of the season because players are picking up knocks.

“It’s a squad game and nothing is personal when I take a player off or leave a player out.

“I have to make tough decisions and it’s going to upset some people, but that’s part of my job.”

Team news

Shields are without Callum Ross, who will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Mitch Rose is a doubt, but Sam Hodgson is expected to be available after missing the Stafford match.

Matchday information

Kick-off at The Martin & Co Arena – which has a postcode of DN21 2QW – is at 3pm and admission prices are £12 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and free for under-16s.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by clicking here.

Supporters planning to travel to the game by car have been issued with advice by the home club.

Trinity recently lost access to all parking provision at The Martin and Co Arena which had previously been available on matchdays.

Roadside parking is available around the ground on a first-come, first-served basis, with fans recommended to otherwise use the Roseway and Tower Street car parks which are located within a two-minute walk of the ground.

Supporters are asked not to park on pavements around The Martin and Co Arena following complaints made to the authorities over recent months.

Live commentary will be provided by Ronnie Peet and Michael Manuel on the Mariners Live Mixlr account, which can be accessed by clicking here. Live updates will also be posted on the club’s Twitter account.

Supporters planning to travel to Saturday’s Pitching In Northern Premier League match at Gainsborough Trinity by car have been issued with advice by the home club.

Trinity recently lost access to all parking provision at The Martin and Co Arena which had previously been available on matchdays.

Roadside parking is available around the ground on a first-come, first-served basis, with fans recommended to otherwise use the Roseway and Tower Street car parks which are located within a two-minute walk of the ground.

Supporters are asked not to park on pavements around The Martin and Co Arena following complaints made to the authorities over recent months.