South Shields were hit by a late sucker punch as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday.
The Mariners dominated the second half and looked the only side likely to score, but Jordan Laidler’s strike a minute from the end snatched the points for the hosts.
Shields now have one point from their opening two Northern League Division One matches ahead of Saturday’s trip to Whitley Bay.
Things couldn’t have started much worse for Shields as Dennis Knight fired Aycliffe into the lead within six minutes.
Home captain Paul Garthwaite released him into space, and the former Newcastle United youngster slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
It almost got worse for Shields when Knight collected the ball six yards out soon after, but this time he could only divert an effort wide.
Louis Storey missed a huge chance to level it for the Mariners as he was unable to convert a Michael Turner cross, but the away side did get back on terms in the 14th minute.
Turner was again the provider, with his deep cross controlled by Gavin Cogdon before he drilled it home for his second goal in as many games.
Laidler fired a free-kick wide for Aycliffe, but by that stage Shields were in the ascendancy, with David Foley denied by a good save from James Winter before Barrie Smith sliced a shot wide.
David Carson also hit one off target after a strong run through the centre, and the teams went in level at half-time.
After the break, the Mariners upped their game, and got stronger the longer the second half went on.
Turner headed just over from a Julio Arca free-kick, while Smith saw a deep cross come back off the crossbar after deceiving all those in the centre.
Carson had a shot well saved by Winter from the edge of the box as Shields increased the pressure, and he hit another effort over after another great run.
With Aycliffe camped deep inside their own half and Shields probing away, a winning goal for the visitors appeared increasingly likely, but it just would not come.
With two minutes left, captain Leepaul Scroggins let fly from the edge of the area and his shot hit a defender, with huge Shields appeals for handball and a penalty waved away.
Aycliffe then went on a rare foray into the Mariners’ half and, after winning a corner, completed their smash and grab victory.
John Campbell’s corner from the left was deep and fell the way of Laidler, who struck it low into the bottom corner to spark home celebrations.
Shields were left with little time to respond, but Cogdon, Carson and Storey all managed to get efforts in before the end, with all failing to beat Winter.
The defeat leaves the Mariners aiming to kick-start their season at Hillheads on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Elliott, Smith, Turner, Storey, Danny Carson, Arca, David Carson, Scroggins (c), Shaw, Cogdon, Foley (Briggs 70). Subs not used: Carmichael, Riding, Morse, Byrne.
Goal: Cogdon (14).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
Jon Shaw’s last minute strike completed a superb second half comeback from South Shields as they came from 3-1 down to take a point from Consett on Saturday.
The Mariners looked like they were set for defeat in their opening Northern League Division One game, but goals from Julio Arca and Shaw in the second half gave things a different complexion.
It was a difficult encounter for Shields on the 3G surface at Belle View, with Consett having started the season with two consecutive victories, including a 7-0 league win over Ashington on Tuesday.
The Mariners were also missing captain Leepaul Scroggins due to holiday, and went into the match on the back of a season-opening 3-1 loss in the FA Cup at Marske United last Saturday.
Chris Elliott made his debut in goal, though, after receiving international clearance, and he made some impressive saves in the first half to keep them in the game.
Early on, David Carson had an effort well saved for Shields, but Consett started the quicker of the two teams, and Jake Stafford fired them in front on seven minutes when the ball fell to him after an Elliott save, and he slammed it into the bottom corner.
Soon after, he denied Michael Sweet as the Mariners struggled to gain a foothold at Belle View.
However, they were provided with just that by Gavin Cogdon in the 17th minute as he scored his first competitive goal for the club. After collecting the ball midway inside the Consett half, he drove forward before slotting it into the bottom of the net from the edge of the box.
Shields were unable to build on that, though, and almost immediately surrendered parity when they gave it away at the back, only for Elliott to excellently deny Luke Sullivan in a one-on-one.
Elliott made an even better save moments later when he tipped a Sweet header onto the crossbar, but he was powerless to prevent the same player from restoring the home advantage as he powerfully nodded a Sullivan cross into the top corner.
Although the Mariners were unable to get their football flowing, they always possessed a threat, and they almost levelled when Arca had an effort cleared off the line.
However, the all-important fourth goal of the game went the way of the hosts when Sullivan nipped in behind on the inside-right of the box before beating Elliott.
After the break, Shields looked more confident on the ball, and also restricted Consett better.
Elliott still needed to be on hand to keep out an effort from Sullivan, but the Mariners got the route back into the game they were searching for when Barrie Smith was fouled in the area, with Arca making no mistake from the spot as he rattled it past home goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald.
Arca almost fired Shields back on level terms soon after as he hit one just wide from the edge of the box, but it looked like time was beginning to run out for the visitors when Cogdon also aimed an effort not far off target.
Sullivan could have put the game to bed four minutes from the end as he brought the ball inside from the right before shooting narrowly wide.
That seemed to spark a late Shields fightback, and Louis Storey went agonisingly close to scoring the leveller as his header from a Ben Riding throw-in bounce back off the post. Cogdon collected the ball and fired goalwards, but his effort was blocked and appeals for a penalty for handball were waved away.
Shields’ equaliser did eventually come, though, in the 90th minute when Carson went on a surging run through the centre from the left, and when he played it into Shaw, there was only one thing on the striker’s mind as he rattled it into the bottom corner.
With momentum behind them and still stoppage time to play, there were some hopes that the Mariners could go on and snatch a dramatic victory, but Consett held firm and when the referee’s final whistle blew, the point gained must have felt like three for Shields.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Elliott, Smith (Byrne 83), Turner, Danny Carson, Riding, Arca (c), David Carson, Briggs (Storey 59), Shaw, Cogdon, Foley. Subs not used: Carmichael, Morse.
Goals: Cogdon (17), Arca (pen 62), Shaw (90).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
Gavin Cogdon says South Shields was the only club he wanted to join after he made the decision to leave Spennymoor Town this summer.
The forward left the Brewery Field as a legend, having played his part in two promotion campaigns and scored at Wembley in their FA Vase final victory in 2013.
However, he now feels ready for a new challenge, and in the video above, he explains why the best place for that is Mariners Park.
He also discusses how much hunger he has to succeed at Shields and why he can’t wait to get started in pre-season.
VIDEO: Daniel Prince. STILL IMAGE: Peter Talbot.