South Shields’ promotion hopes suffered a setback as they were beaten 1-0 by Lancaster City on Tuesday.
A 20th minute strike from Charlie Bailey undid the Mariners, who had started the game brightly as they aimed to cut the gap at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League to a point.
After taking the lead, a resolute Lancaster side grew in confidence and held the visitors at bay as Shields’ run of four consecutive away fixtures ended in frustrating fashion.
There had been positive signs for Shields in the early stages as they established control of possession and probed for an opening.
Cedric Main was particularly prominent and he almost created an opening when he tricked his way through down the right before flashing a ball across the face of goal which evaded a touch.
Lancaster gradually gained a foothold and went close to scoring themselves as Sam Bailey’s 20 yard strike took a deflection before being tipped wide by Myles Boney.
The hosts did then take the lead as Charlie Bailey drifted inside from the left before rifling an effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area with his right foot.
There were opportunities for Lancaster to extend their advantage, but Joseph Blanchard headed wide and Joseph Rodwell-Grant blasted over when well-placed.
The Mariners had an effort on target when JJ Hooper’s header was stopped by Curtis Anderson in the Lancaster goal, and there was another good chance after the break as Darius Osei fired just past the post from 20 yards.
That was as close as Shields got, though, with Lancaster’s solid performance enough to keep them out.
Kevin Phillips’ side will look to bounce back when they host Bamber Bridge in the league on Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, Rose (Briggs 69), McGowan (Lowe 69), Hooper, Main (Tee 69), Osei. Subs not used: Kempster, Hodgson.
Image: Kev Wilson.
South Shields face their fourth away match in succession on Tuesday when they travel to Lancaster City in the Pitching In Northern Premier League (7.45pm kick-off).
The Mariners are second in the table, four points behind leaders Buxton. This is their game in hand on the Derbyshire-based outfit.
Lancaster, meanwhile, are winless in their last four and are 13th in the table, but their most recent victory was over promotion-chasing Matlock Town and they have also beaten Buxton this season.
The reverse fixture was held in September and resulted in a 2-1 win for Shields.
Manager Kevin Phillips is aware of the threat Lancaster pose as he seeks more consistency from his side following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Basford United.
Phillips said: “We all understand we can’t afford to drop too many points.
“Buxton are on a fine run of form but there will be points dropped by those at the top end of the league between now and the end of the season.
“We can only affect what’s in front of us, and our only focus is on Tuesday at Lancaster.
“It might be another tricky playing surface, but we’ve got to go there and put in a performance.
“If we can play like we did in the first half on Saturday for 90 minutes, we can beat anyone in this league and we’ve already shown that.
“We just need to find a bit of consistency between now and the end of the season.”
Shields are expected to be boosted by the returns of Jordan Hunter (head) and Mitch Rose (suspension).
Callum Ross remains sidelined, though, and will be out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
Kick-off at Giant Axe – which has a post code of LA1 5PE – is at 7.45pm.
Admission prices are £10 for adults, £7 for concessions, £5 for those aged 14-17 and free for under-14s accompanied by an adult.
Live updates will be posted on the club’s Twitter account and the Mariners Live team will also be on hand to provide live commentary. You can tune in by clicking here.
Saturday’s Pitching In Northern Premier League match between Lancaster City and South Shields has been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
An inspection was held at 9am, when the playing surface was deemed unplayable, and storm damage to both dugouts was reported.
A new date for the fixture will be confirmed in due course.