South Shields made it two wins from two in 2022 as they saw off in-form Radcliffe 2-0 at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday.

An early Nathan Lowe penalty gave the Mariners the lead and JJ Hooper secured the victory with a fine finish late on to move the Mariners up to third in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

They had set the tone from the first whistle, and had their first sight of goal after just two minutes. Cedric Main evaded two challenges before whipping a low shot narrowly past the post from 20 yards.

The Mariners were strong in the tackle and showing plenty of intent going forward, and their reward came when Conor Tee was tripped inside the box on the right. Lowe took responsibility and thumped the penalty past debutant Jack McIntyre in the Radcliffe goal to hand the hosts a sixth minute lead.

McIntyre joined Radcliffe on the eve of the game on loan from Sunderland and he was called into action when Will Jenkins shifted the ball onto his left foot and fired an effort which the goalkeeper got down to save.

There was another opportunity just after the quarter-hour as Tee’s free-kick struck the wall and Shields kept the ball alive before Tee was found in space inside the box, but his goalbound strike was blocked.

From the resulting Lowe corner, Dillon Morse’s powerful shot was held by McIntyre as the Mariners’ superb start continued.

Against the run of play, though, Radcliffe almost equalised when an impressive move concluded as Bobby Grant played in Callum Gribbin and he looked certain to score, but his clipped effort was excellently cleared off the line by Jack Bodenham.

Having preserved his side’s advantage at one end, Bodenham almost extended it at the other as he got his head on a Lowe corner and the ball bounced towards goal. The header was cleared off the line, though, and despite Shields’ appeals for handball, play was waved on.

The home side maintained their one-goal lead until half-time and started the second half well, but debutant Scott Moloney was called into action for the first time on 51 minutes when Luca Navarro’s strike stung his palms.

Lowe nearly doubled his tally soon afterwards when his 25 yard free-kick rattled the woodwork, and Main created the next chance for himself by wriggling past two defenders before firing over.

Amid a series of substitutions for both sides, goalmouth action was in short supply. One of the replacements, Radcliffe’s Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro, fired a warning with 15 minutes of regulation time left as he cut inside from the right and sent a low shot whistling wide.

Shields responded immediately, and Mitch Rose and Lowe both tested McIntyre from distance as they searched for a second goal which would surely have sealed the points. They did not have much longer to wait.

It arrived on 80 minutes when McIntyre’s loose clearance was pounced on by Hooper and he ran towards goal. The chance looked to have evaded him when two defenders got back to cover but Hooper kept his composure, shifted the ball onto his right foot and whipped it into the top corner with a tremendous finish to make it 2-0.

The goal made the final stages less nervy than they could have been as Shields saw the game out with relative ease.

They will go in search of a third consecutive win on Tuesday when they travel to Ashton United.

South Shields: Moloney, Rose, Adams (c), McGowan, Morse, Bodenham, Tee, Lowe, Hooper (Hodgson 87), Jenkins (Briggs 71), Main (Osei 71). Subs not used: Shaw, Kempster.

Goals: Lowe (pen 6), Hooper (80).

Attendance: 1,934.

Image: Kev Wilson.

Nathan Lowe’s moment of supreme quality and a fine finish from Sam Hodgson settled a tense North East derby as South Shields returned to winning ways with a deserved victory over Morpeth Town at 1st Cloud Arena.

Lowe curled a terrific effort into the top corner just short of the hour mark as Shields’ domination of the ball was rewarded with the opening goal.

Hodgson stepped off the bench to seal the three points with a perfectly placed shot which ended Morpeth’s resistance and delivered the Mariners a vital three points.

Graham Fenton made two changes to the Shields XI which started against Basford United three days earlier, with Jon Shaw and Lowe introduced in place of Jack Bodenham and Will McGowan.

The Mariners started in composed fashion and immediately took control of possession as they probed for an early breakthrough.

That was not forthcoming, but the first sniff of goal came in the eighth minute as Darius Osei scurried past Joe Walton on the right of the area and pulled a dangerous ball across the area which Alex Kempster was just unable to get clean contact on.

Osei was again the creator midway through the half when he twisted and turned his way into some space before firing in a cross which Kempster headed over.

Kempster was central to many of the hosts’ attacks and he saw a strong appeal for a penalty waved away when Blair Adams swung in a cross from the left and the forward went down under a challenge from Jeff Henderson.

Shields’ dominance in possession continued throughout the first half but Morpeth remained resilient and restricted their opponents to half-chances, with Dan Martin having an effort deflected wide, Dillon Morse heading past the post from a corner and Callum Ross seeing a header comfortably saved. Robert Briggs also had a free-kick saved before the half was out.

After a distinct lack of goalscoring opportunities in the first 45 minutes, the deadlock was almost broken just 20 seconds after the restart as Ben Ramsey attacked down the right for the visitors and got in behind before firing past the post.

The lively start to the second half continued as Shields went close to opening the scoring, with Briggs’ free-kick from 30 yards headed narrowly wide by Morse.

The breakthrough arrived a minute short of the hour mark as Lowe picked out the top corner with a delicious strike from 20 yards which left Lowson grasping at thin air and a crowd of over 2,000 celebrating with the lustiest of roars.

The game had been in need of a moment of quality and Lowe certainly provided it. However, Shields knew that the job was a long way from being done and a response from Morpeth was to be expected.

They fired a warning on 63 minutes when Liam Noble’s effort from distance was well-struck and forced Myles Boney into a decent save.

The Mariners had two sighters of goal as Morse was just unable to divert a Briggs corner goalwards and Kempster narrowly failed to connect with a Martin cross.

The visitors had the next major chance, though, and almost equalised when Ramsey got in down the right and Boney closed the angle but could only watch the ball sail over him and into the side netting.

Shields introduced Hodgson from the bench in place of the limping Adams and he almost made an immediate impact as he drifted in from the left and fired a shot which was deflected wide.

Hodgson’s substitution proved to be inspired and he settled the game with eight minutes left as he was found by Osei and took a touch before brilliantly finding the bottom corner with a placed finish from the edge of the box.

There was no way back from there for Morpeth as the Mariners sent their large and vociferous support with smiles on their faces.

They will go in search of another victory when they travel to league leaders Matlock Town on Saturday.

South Shields: Boney, Martin, Adams (c) (Hodgson 74), Shaw, Morse, Ross, Tee (Bodenham 82), Briggs, Osei, Lowe (McGowan 90+6), Kempster. Subs: Rossiter, Stead.

Goals: Lowe (59), Hodgson (82).

Attendance: 2,125.

Image: Kev Wilson.

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).

Attendance: 869.

Image: Kev Wilson.