South Shields came from behind as second half goals from Callum Ross and Darius Osei secured a hard-fought win at Hyde United on Saturday.
The Mariners found themselves trailing at half-time after Ross headed into his own net from a Hyde corner.
Their general play had shown much promise, though, and that was rewarded as Ross and Osei scored inside three minutes of each other to turn the scoreline on its head.
A tremendous late save by Myles Boney helped Shields over the line on a day their ranks were depleted, with the likes of Jordan Hunter, Robert Briggs and Nathan Lowe all unavailable.
The visitors adapted in the absence of that trio, with Will Jenkins fielded in an unfamiliar right wing-back role in place of Hunter, who broke his arm in training the day before the game.
Graham Fenton’s side started on the front foot and dominated possession in the early stages, only to concede against the run of play.
Liam Tongue curled in a corner from the Hyde left and, under pressure from Jack Sherratt, Ross inadvertently headed the ball past Boney to hand the hosts the lead.
The Mariners responded calmly to that blow as they patiently probed for openings and a return to parity.
They created a glorious opportunity midway through the first half as Will McGowan split the home defence with a terrific pass to Osei, who snatched at his effort and saw it drift wide.
Shields had failed to win in their previous three visits to Ewen Fields and could have gone two goals behind when Tongue let fly from the edge of the box, but his strike comfortably cleared Boney’s crossbar.
Hyde goalkeeper Joe Green was called into action for the first time just before the half-hour as Conor Tee brought the ball onto his right foot and curled in a delivery from the left which Green clawed away.
The Mariners’ influence on the game increased as the first half progressed and Tee produced another decent chance as his corner found Jack Bodenham, who turned over from close range when off balance.
Blair Adams tested the reflexes of Green with a low whipped cross which the goalkeeper did well to hold, but Hyde retained a threat at the other end and almost extended their advantage as a volley from the edge of the box by Tongue flashed just past the post.
Shields were incensed when a penalty appeal was waved away after a robust challenge on Adams, while Osei and Ntumba Massanka were denied by blocks in an action-packed end to the first half.
They went in at the break seeking improvements but in the belief they were unfortunate to be behind.
The away side set about overturning their deficit in the second half but first needed to survive a Hyde counter-attack which resulted in Theo Bailey-Jones firing narrowly over from the right of the area.
Shields introduced Alex Kempster from the bench shortly afterwards and the forward had a hugely positive impact on the game, providing his team with an added impetus on the left flank.
The Mariners set about peppering Green’s goal with efforts from distance, but the goalkeeper was equal to a strike from Ross and satisfied to watch attempts from Tee and Bodenham clear his crossbar, before saving from Kempster.
There was a sense that Shields’ dominance was growing and an equaliser was imminent, and so it proved as a series of three corners led to the breakthrough on 65 minutes.
McGowan curled the ball into the six-yard box and onto the head of Ross, who found the net for the second time in the afternoon to level the scores and add to a growing belief the match may be there for the taking.
A second goal arrived just three minutes later when Bodenham’s ball into the area was nodded down by Massanka to Tee, whose effort was parried by Green. The rebound broke to Adams and although Jordan Fagbola blocked his strike, Osei pounced on the loose ball and turned to fire home.
That gave Shields the advantage and they looked likely to see out the win relatively comfortably as they dominated possession. In the closing stages, though, Hyde hit back.
As the game ticked into stoppage time, a free-kick from the left was met by the head of Cameron Fogerty and his effort was destined for the bottom corner before being tremendously tipped wide by the outstretched hand of Boney.
It was a crucial intervention from the goalkeeper to preserve his side’s victory, which was secured with another Academy graduate on the field as Harvey Neary was brought on for his debut late on.
Shields will look to continue their unbeaten start when they travel to Radcliffe on Tuesday.
South Shields: Boney, Jenkins (Kempster 54), Adams (c), Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, McGowan, Ross, Massanka (Hodgson 76), Tee, Osei (Neary 90+3). Subs not used: Steavens, Rossiter.
Goals: Ross (65), Osei (68).
Image: Kev Wilson.
South Shields travel to Hyde United on Saturday as they target a return to winning ways in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
The Mariners played out a 1-1 draw with Ashton United at 1st Cloud Arena on Tuesday as they were denied victory for just the second time this season.
They remain top of the early table, and will be looking to maintain their position when they take on a Hyde side now under the management of former Stockport County boss Jim Gannon.
Hyde are 10th but boast impressive recent victories over FC United of Manchester and Nantwich Town, and Shields manager Graham Fenton is expecting a stern test for his side at Ewen Fields.
He said: “We know it’s going to be tough at Hyde, as it has been every time we have visited their place.
“We haven’t got the best of records at Ewen Fields but we’re motivated to put that right.
“Hyde are usually pretty compact and good on the counter-attack and from set-pieces, which is what we expect from them again.
“Jim has gone in there and is a good, experienced manager who has managed at a higher level, so it will be a difficult game.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge, though, and if we can show a few improvements from Tuesday, we go into it feeling confident.”
Will McGowan made his first competitive start for the Mariners in Tuesday’s game, and scored his side’s equaliser as part of an impressive display.
Fenton has praised the midfielder for making the most of his opportunity to shine.
He added: “Will has been great.
“He missed a week of training towards the end of pre-season which held him back a little bit, and he has had to be patient.
“It’s not easy for a young lad to come into a new club and have to wait for your opportunity.
“You’re almost hoping for a drop in form from people and we obviously haven’t had that because we’ve been winning games.
“Now he has had his opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands, so we’re delighted with him.”
Shields go into Saturday’s game without Nathan Lowe and Joao Gomes, with midfielder Callum Ross a doubt.
Kick-off at Ewen Fields – which has a post code of SK14 5PL – is at 3pm and admission prices are £10 for adults, £7 for concessions and £5 for under-16s. No tickets are being sold in advance of the day.
South Shields recorded their third successive clean sheet at the start of the season as they drew 0-0 with Hyde United in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
Chances were few and far between at Ewen Fields but the Mariners remained solid at the back to continue their positive start to the campaign.
Shields’ start to the game offered a glimpse into the quality just waiting to burst through.
The Mariners kept the ball superbly and looked in mean mood, with their hosts unable to gain a foothold as the Mariners probed.
Their strong opening was halted when they were forced into a 20th minute change, with Blair Adams withdrawn due to a dead leg and Craig Baxter his replacement.
That seemed to knock Shields off their stride, although last-ditch tackles were all that denied Josh Gillies and Nathan Lowe clear strikes at goal as they searched for a breakthrough.
The elusive first shot of the game arrived on 33 minutes, with Gillies drifting inside from the left before curling an effort which did not threaten to trouble home goalkeeper Joe Green.
At the other end, Hyde’s first sight of goal was a 20 yard free-kick by Paddy Lane which comfortably cleared the crossbar.
A goal did appear a more likely prospect at this stage and Shields almost provided it with six minutes remaining in the first half.
Jordan Hunter bravely nicked the ball ahead of a defender in the penalty area and with space opening up for him, opted to pull it back to Gillies rather than shoot. Gillies’ first-time effort lacked the power required to beat Green as the goalkeeper made a low save.
Robert Briggs also had a half-chance just before the break when Darius Osei teed him up on the edge of the box, but he sliced his shot wide.
Hyde showed an improved threat going forward in the second half although the start to the half suggested Shields were the likelier to score, with Hunter again breaking free down the right before firing a ball across which had just too much on it for Jason Gilchrist.
Lane was Hyde’s biggest threat and he sent a low shot wide from the right before a dangerous free-kick from the same player was crucially headed over his own bar by Shaw.
There were few clear-cut opportunities at either end as the second half progressed, although both sides had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the closing stages.
In truth, a penalty or set-piece would have been the most likely route to goal the longer the game went and in the end, a point apiece was a fair result at Ewen Fields.
Shields are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Ashton United in the league, before an FA Cup trip to the same opponents four days later.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams (Baxter 20), Shaw (c), Morse, Ross, Gillies (Verstraaten 82), Briggs, Gilchrist, Lowe, Osei (Mason 79). Subs not used: Jenkins, McCamley.