South Shields were beaten by the odd goal in five in an entertaining pre-season encounter with Marske United at 1st Cloud Arena.
Shields twice went behind inside the opening 15 minutes, with Marske’s goals sandwiched by a beauty from Nathan Lowe which had momentarily brought the hosts level.
Lowe was also central to the Mariners’ second equaliser 20 minutes from the end as his terrific cross was turned in by Massanka after a period of pressure.
Although they pushed for a winner, Shields were ultimately undone at the other end in the closing stages as substitute McKenzie Diciccio slotted home with three minutes remaining to secure his team a 3-2 victory.
The home side started the game brightly and twice almost took the lead, with a Jon Shaw cross sliced over the bar by a Marske defender and the resulting corner from Nathan Lowe headed down by Dillon Morse to Massanka, whose powerful effort on the turn was blocked.
The Seasiders countered quickly and created an overload on the left of Shields’ penalty area, where Curtis Round was on hand to slide home and open the scoring.
The goal provided Marske with a spring in their step and a number of forays down the right flank offered an indication of their ability.
Shields gradually found their feet again and a fine move down the left involving Blair Adams and Massanka led to a drive from 20 yards by Conor Tee which was deflected wide.
Within a minute of that, the home side were back on level terms. Lowe received the ball on the edge of the area, took a touch and then curled majestically into the corner of the net.
The crowd of 869 was being provided with plenty of early entertainment, although most of the supporters inside 1st Cloud Arena would have been disappointed by the next development as Marske immediately went back in front. Connor Smith’s cross from the right sailed onto the head of Matty Tymon and he powerfully headed past Myles Boney in the Shields goal.
Both sides looked capable of scoring from almost every attack and the next to go close was Darius Osei as he received the ball from Jordan Hunter and sent a shot just wide of Ryan Catterick’s post.
Massanka also had an opportunity to notch a second equaliser for the Mariners as he got on the end of a move following some patient build-up play, but his powerful volley flew wide.
Marske were the width of a post away from establishing a two-goal advantage in the 33rd minute as Smith provided another peach of a cross, this time onto the head of Adam Boyes. Shields breathed a sight of relief when his effort struck the woodwork before being hacked clear.
The second half started slowly as the sides battled for supremacy but the Mariners had a good spell around the hour mark, with first Lowe forcing Catterick into a low save before the goalkeeper beat Massanka to a loose ball in the area by the finest of margins to preserve his team’s lead.
Adams was at the heart of the next move as he was found by Massanka before fizzing a pass across the box which just evaded a touch.
The noise from the terraces was increasing with each Shields attack and the crowd was able to cheer an equalising goal on 70 minutes. Lowe fired in a peach of a cross from the right and Massanka showed superb desire to force his way in front of his defender and strike home.
The Mariners almost completed a quickfire turnaround when they reclaimed the ball quickly from the restart and Lowe’s drive from 20 yards was pushed wide by Catterick.
Lowe had the bit between his teeth and went close to providing another goal with a free-kick from deep on the right which was headed narrowly wide by Dillon Morse, via the slightest of touches by a defender.
The majority of possession and territory was with Shields for the remainder of the game but they were ultimately unable to unlock Marske for a third time.
In the end it was the Seasiders who scored the crucial fifth goal as a low ball across the area from the right was converted by Diciccio in the 87th minute.
Shields did have opportunities for a third equaliser, with Massanka firing an effort not far wide via a deflection and a Lowe cross from the left just evading a touch, but Marske held out for the victory.
The Mariners will complete their preparations for the season with a home match against National League North side Gateshead next Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter (Briggs 80), Adams, Shaw (Morse 46), Morse (Trialist 24), Ross, Osei, Briggs (c) (Shaw 68), Massanka, Lowe, Tee. Subs not used: Steavens, Agnew, Lukeman, McGeorge, Rossiter, Hodgson, Trialist.
Goals: Lowe (13), Massanka (70).
Image: Kev Wilson.
Goalkeeper Myles Boney and midfielder Nathan Lowe have joined Darlington on loan from South Shields.
The pair have penned month-long deals at Blackwell Meadows, with the Mariners currently unable to play matches or train together due to national coronavirus restrictions.
Darlington’s National League North season is continuing during the national lockdown, meaning Boney and Lowe will be given an opportunity to compete for game-time over the next month.
They are the fourth and fifth Shields players to complete temporary moves to National League North sides, with Blair Adams and Dillon Morse currently at Gateshead, and Jason Gilchrist at York City.
We wish Myles and Nathan well for their loan spells and look forward to seeing them back in Shields colours at the earliest opportunity.
It’s Day Twenty of the SSFC Advent Calendar – and you now have the chance to enter the competition to win a matchday mascot package.
Today’s feature is kicked off by Nathan Lowe, who delivers his message for supporters in the tweet below.
Nathan Lowe introduces Day 2⃣0⃣ of the #SSFCAdventCalendar.
Today is your last chance to enter our comps for a matchday hospitality package, and a voucher from Freeman Butchers!
— South Shields FC (@SouthShieldsFC) December 20, 2020
Between now and Christmas Eve, you will be able to enter a range of competitions to win prizes courtesy of the club and several of its sponsors.
The latest item up for grabs is a matchday hospitality package.
You have until 9am on Monday to submit all of your four answers together via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first question was: Sam Hodgson made his senior debut for South Shields on the same day as Mathew Wade and which other Academy graduate?
The second question was: Which club is Will McCamley currently on loan with Shields from?
The third question was: What was the final score when Shields played against FC United of Manchester in March 2020?
Today’s fourth and final question is: What is Nathan Lowe’s hometown?
Later on Sunday, we will announce the winner of a £25 voucher from club sponsor Freeman Butchers. We would like to thank Freeman Butchers for their continued support.
We also currently highlighting our fifth charity of the month, the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.
The Trust honours teenage sweethearts Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry through what they loved most and aims to inspire others to follow their dreams in sport or performance.
Over the month, donations will also be encouraged towards the club’s charitable Foundation, which works with hundreds of children each week and does such fantastic work within our community.
To support the Foundation with a donation, please click here.
Thank you for your continued support and keep an eye out for Day Twenty-One tomorrow!