There was late drama for loan duo Dillon Morse and Blair Adams as Gateshead snatched a 1-0 victory against Guiseley in National League North on Saturday.
Macaulay Langstaff struck the only goal in second half stoppage time as Morse and Adams marked their debuts for the Heed with all three points and a clean sheet.
The pair are on a month-long loan at the International Stadium while coronavirus restrictions continue to prevent South Shields from playing matches or training together.
Morse was rewarded for his display with the man of the match award as Gateshead moved up to 10th in the National League North table.
The defender told Gateshead’s official website afterwards: “It’s a perfect debut for me.
“First and foremost, you want the lads to get the three points.
“Anything on top of that is a bonus, so I’m delighted.
“All of the lads were brilliant today – me and Blair were struggling for fitness so they’ve helped us massively.
“We’ve played once since the start of November so we were lacking some sharpness, but I’m just buzzing to be back on a football pitch at the end of the day.”
Defenders Blair Adams and Dillon Morse have joined Gateshead on month-long loan deals from South Shields.
With the Pitching In Northern Premier League season currently suspended until at least March 6th and Government restrictions prohibiting the Mariners from training together, the decision has been made to allow both players to depart temporarily.
National League North side Gateshead are currently permitted to train and play, meaning Adams and Morse will be given an opportunity to compete for game-time over the next month.
Both players remain a firm part of the club’s long-term plans. We wish them both well for their spell at the International Stadium and look forward to seeing them back in Shields colours at the earliest opportunity.
South Shields’ pre-season programme ended with a narrow defeat at Gateshead on Saturday.
In a game of few chances, Jack Hunter headed in the only goal for the National League North side midway through the second half.
Shields had defeated Gateshead’s divisional rivals York City 3-0 four days earlier, but were unable to find the same rhythm in this behind closed doors game.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action in the first half and the closest either side came was a Jordan Preston effort for the home team which was parried by Myles Boney, who also kept out the rebound from Greg Olley.
George Smith was a lively presence on the left flank for the Heed and saw plenty of the ball, with one of his crosses sent wide by Olley while he headed another opportunity wide himself.
Gateshead’s Nicky Deverdics and Shields’ Nathan Lowe were both off target with efforts from distance before the half-time whistle, which gave both sides an opportunity to regroup and improve their attacking purpose.
The Mariners had some bright moments in the early stages of the second half but fell behind in the 63rd minute.
Deverdics curled in a dangerous corner from the right and Hunter stole a march on his marker to head in at the near post.
It would prove to be the winner, although Shields did press gamely for an equaliser in the closing stages after introducing a number of substitutes.
One of them, Lee Mason, went agonsingly close to bringing his side level 14 minutes before the end.
Josh Gillies provided him with the ball outside the box on the left and he got it out of his feet before whipping a shot against the crossbar.
Darius Osei was another player brought on by the Mariners as he got some much-needed minutes in the tank, and he was a dangerous presence in the closing stages.
He had half a chance to equalise towards the end when Craig Baxter found him in the penalty area, but after a fine turn he was denied by a block as Gateshead preserved their clean sheet.
Former Shields midfielder Matty Pattison was brought on by Gateshead and he had the home side’s final attempt, with his effort from distance comfortably clearing Boney’s crossbar.
There was to be no late leveller for Shields, though, as a unique pre-season was brought to an end.
The Mariners will kick-off their Northern Premier League campaign at home to Mickleover on Saturday.
With Shields restricted to a capacity of 600 at 1st Cloud Arena, ticket details are awaited in the coming days, although it is anticipated only season ticket holders and an allocation of away supporters will be in attendance at this stage.
South Shields:: Boney, Hunter, Baxter, Ross (Turnbull 64), Morse (Agnew 77), Brown (Shaw 66), Kempster (Mason 71), Briggs (c) (Verstraaten 64), Gilchrist (Osei 64), Lowe (Thompson 64), Gillies (Jenkins 77). Subs not used: Coombe, McCamley, Hodgson.
Image: Kev Wilson.