Former South Shields loanee Mechack Kanda struck late on for Newcastle Benfield to deny his old club maximum points at Mariners Park on Saturday.
A frustrating afternoon for Shields looked set for a positive outcome when substitute Gavin Cogdon drilled them into the lead with 14 minutes left.
However, with time running out, Kanda capitalised on a loose ball to claim a point for Benfield and halt the Mariners’ 19-match winning streak at home in the league.
Results elsewhere meant Shields stayed top of Northern League Division One, but they will have seen this as an opportunity missed, despite a good display from the visitors.
The Mariners were without the likes of Julio Arca, David Foley and Ben Riding, and Robert Briggs was restored to the starting line-up after only being fit enough for a place on the bench at Marske United in midweek.
In a scrappy opening, neither side was able to create much headway, but Briggs almost lit up the game on 14 minutes when his audacious, hooked effort from the left just cleared the crossbar.
At the other end, Shields goalkeeper Joss Carmichael was on hand to keep out an effort from Matthew Cornish, while some good work from Paul Brayson set up an opportunity for substitute Joshua Scott, who hit it over.
The Mariners continued to plug away as they tried to make the breakthrough, but Benfield proved well-organised and difficult to break down.
Danny Carson hit an effort not far wide after coming inside from the left, while Briggs went closer when his shot from a similar distance struck the bottom of the post.
Shields were handed a blow two minutes before half-time when Jon Shaw was forced off injured, and they went into the break frustrated.
They started the second half much better, though, with Craig Baxter making some surging runs down the right in front of a crowd of 1,166.
However, decent chances for David Palmer and David Carson went begging, and an even better one was missed by Carl Finnigan, who shot wide after being played in on goal.
At the other end, Shields needed to stay alert, with Benfield always threatening on the break. Dillon Morse made a number of excellent interceptions in a fine performance from the centre-back.
Baxter had a great opportunity to score after a good home move, but he put it wide, and Scott hit one off target for Benfield.
It appeared that Shields would take the points when a Baxter cross from the right was missed by Finnigan but then superbly finished by Cogdon at the back post.
Cogdon had been brought on with half an hour remaining in his comeback from a hamstring injury.
However, there was a sting in the tail for the Mariners.
A right-wing cross from the visitors was headed against the bar by Brayson, but Kanda got to the loose ball first, placing it into the bottom corner to deny Shields the three points.
The result means Benfield have now taken points off South Shields, Bishop Auckland, Shildon and Morpeth Town, as well as high-flying Sunderland RCA, so far this season.
The Mariners will aim to get back to winning ways on Tuesday when they visit West Auckland Town for a 7.30pm kick-off.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Carmichael, Baxter, Danny Carson, David Carson, Morse, Storey, Finnigan, Scroggins (c) (Cogdon 61), Shaw (Palmer 43), Briggs, Phillips (Smith 77). Subs not used: Connell, Ramsey.
Goal: Cogdon (76).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
South Shields beat South Tyneside neighbours Hebburn Town 5-2 on Tuesday as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.
After falling behind, the Mariners went in ahead at the break thanks to goals from Robert Briggs and Martyn Coleman on his debut.
Hebburn equalised in the second half, but Shields responded well, with Briggs and Coleman both adding a second before Mechack Kanda completed the scoring.
Above are the highlights from the game at Mariners Park.
VIDEO: Daniel Prince. STILL IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
South Shields turned in a five-star performance as they beat neighbours Hebburn Town in a seven-goal thriller on Tuesday.
In difficult conditions at Mariners Park, Martyn Coleman scored a brace on his Shields debut to help them into the quarter-finals of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.
Robert Briggs was also on target twice, while Mechack Kanda added the fifth as he scored his first goal for the club.
However, Shields – who were missing the suspended Julio Arca and Leepaul Scroggins – did not have it all their own way, with Hebburn producing a spirited performance.
The Hornets started the stronger of the two teams, and almost went ahead early on when Shields goalkeeper Gareth Young parried a cross from Scott Wallace, and the rebound from Marc Costello was excellently blocked.
On six minutes, Scott Oliver’s side did take the lead when a cross from the left by Lee McMahon caught out Young at his near post as it caught the wind.
It handed McMahon a goal against his former club, and just two minutes later, he almost added a second when Young kept out his effort.
Seconds earlier, Hebburn had hit the bar, with Shields having to weather a storm in the rainy conditions.
The longer the game went on, though, the more the hosts wrestled control, with Coleman particularly impressive on his debut following his arrival from Penrith.
A shot from the striker almost deceived visiting goalkeeper Phil Holgate, who pushed the ball out to Briggs, and his effort was blocked.
Coleman threatened again when he twisted and turned outside the box before firing wide, before Briggs dragged the Mariners level on 20 minutes.
Lewis Teasdale teed him up 25 yards out, and Briggs hammered the ball into the bottom corner, with the goalkeeper unmoved.
Both sides continued to create chances, with Daryll Hall heading a decent opportunity over, while at the other end, only a tremendous last-ditch tackle by Ibby Hassan prevented Glen Hargrave having a free run on goal.
A crowd of 477 was present at Mariners Park, despite the awful conditions, and they saw Briggs go close on the half-hour mark as Holgate pushed out his effort from the edge of the box.
Coleman also went close with a header as Holgate just prevented it crossing the line, while Michael Turner’s shot was blocked.
Four minutes before the break, Coleman got off the mark for his new club when a header forward from Hassan put him through on the inside-right channel, and he raced through on goal before firing low past Holgate.
On the stroke of half-time, Callum Smith volleyed over for Hebburn, and after the break, the conditions became ever more difficult in the mud.
Briggs almost put Shields 3-1 ahead when his corner from the left struck the bar, bounced up and then hit the woodwork again.
However, Hebburn were still in the game, and proved that by pulling back on level terms when Wallace pulled the ball back to Smith six yards out and he fired home.
Shields showed good character by responding almost immediately.
Briggs teased in a low cross from the left which hit the post, and the ball came out to Coleman, who ruthlessly powered in the rebound.
The Mariners went about sealing their place in the last eight, but Teasdale saw a shot tremendously cleared off the line before Phillips headed wide.
As Shields pressed for a fourth, Coleman almost caught out the goalkeeper at the near post, and Holgate then brilliantly kept out a snap-shot from substitute David Foley with one hand.
Briggs virtually sealed the home win when Kanda created an opportunity for him from the right, and the midfielder then danced past a defender before hitting into the bottom corner.
Kanda got on the scoresheet himself eight minutes before the end. Coleman held the ball up superbly on the halfway line to start the Shields attack, and the ball eventually found its way to Kanda, who fired low into the opposite corner.
Towards the end, Coleman went close to claiming his hat-trick, but the ball caught up in the mud as he looked set to run through on goal, while his cross-shot from the right was well kept out by Holgate.
One of the last actions of the game was a shot over from Hargrave, but the Mariners had already sealed their passage into the quarter-finals by then.
Shields will travel to Billingham Synthonia in the next round, while tomorrow, they are due to host North Shields in the League Cup.
Hebburn, meanwhile, host Darlington RA on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Carson, Turner, Hall (c), Hassan, Smith, Sakr (Foley 55), Briggs, Coleman, Teasdale (Riding 69), Phillips (Kanda 75). Subs not used: Pocklington, Ramsey.
Goals: Briggs (20, 79), Coleman (41, 65), Kanda (82).
HEBBURN TOWN: Holgate, Malley, Wallace, Pegram, Christopher Smith (c), Summers, Callum Smith, Costello, McMahon, Hargrave, Feasey. Subs (from): Hubery, Downey, North, Talbot.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.