South Shields were forced to settle for a point as Buxton twice battled back from a goal behind in a match played in treacherous conditions at Silverlands.

Robert Briggs handed the Mariners an ideal start by prodding his side in front within the first two minutes and although third-placed Buxton equalised, Shields took a lead into half-time thanks to a superb volley from Jack Bodenham.

Kevin Phillips’ side were left frustrated when Jamie Ward’s dink earned the Bucks a share of the spoils, but the result kept Shields four points ahead of their opponents in the Pitching In Northern Premier League, and closed the gap on leaders Matlock Town to two points.

With Cedric Main missing out through injury, Phillips brought Darius Osei into the starting line-up and there were two more changes, with the fit-again Myles Boney and Jordan Hunter re-introduced to the team.

A strong start was desired and that was just what Shields delivered.

With less than two minutes on the clock, Blair Adams advanced down the left and teased in a superb low cross which bounced in the area and was forced over the line by Briggs, whose initial prodded effort had been blocked.

Osei also enjoyed a bright opening to the game and he went close to making it two, using his strength and pace to get in behind before his low strike from a tight angle was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Theo Richardson.

The Mariners were pressing persistently and they forced an error from their hosts on 11 minutes when the ball broke to Nathan Lowe, who drove through the centre before powering a low shot just past the post from 20 yards.

Against the run of play, though, Buxton equalised on the quarter-hour mark.

After Boney had brilliantly tipped a 20-yard attempt by Mackenzie Heaney wide, the resulting corner by Ward caught the wind and struck the crossbar before striking Jason Gilchrist and heading towards goal. Boney clawed it away but the officials controversially ruled the ball had crossed the line and the home side celebrated an equaliser, with Gilchrist registering a goal against his former club.

In swirling wind, driving rain and cold conditions which seriously challenged both teams, Shields responded well and were back in front on 26 minutes.

Lowe curled in a superb corner from the right and Bodenham met it with a terrific volley on the turn which arrowed into the top corner as he netted his second goal for the club. (CHECK)

The Mariners held their lead relatively comfortably into half-time, although Chris Dawson did curl an effort not far wide from distance for the hosts four minutes before the break.

There were few clear-cut chances in the second half, although Shields did have the better of the play in the early exchanges of it.

Briggs sent a half-volley narrowly wide from 20 yards, Osei had a low shot tipped wide and a Lowe free-kick from long range was impressively saved by Richardson.

But the fourth and final goal went the way of Buxton midway through the second half, with Ward delicately clipping the ball over Boney from the left of the area after being played in on goal.

There were opportunities for both sides to claim a winner, the first of which fell to Sam Hodgson as he latched onto a ball over the top by Boney, but he was unable to get enough on his header to beat Richardson.

There was a goal-line clearance apiece in the closing stages, with Shields substitute Alex Kempster denied at one end before Bodenham made an acrobatic stop to ensure neither team would claim maximum points.

The Mariners will look to continue their impressive run when they travel to Morpeth Town for an eagerly-awaited derby match on Tuesday.

South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), McGowan, Morse, Bodenham, Tee (Jenkins 76), Lowe, Hodgson, Briggs, Osei (Kempster 76). Subs not used: Shaw, Rose, Rossiter.

Goals: Briggs (2), Bodenham (26).

Attendance: 1,056.

Image: Kev Wilson.

South Shields withstood a late Warrington Town fightback to record an important 3-2 victory at a bustling 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday.

The Mariners roared into a two-goal advantage within the first half-hour as a close range Alex Kempster finish was followed by a composed penalty from Robert Briggs.

Briggs added a second spot-kick early in the second half to provide added comfort for Shields and ensure that goals from Jordan Buckley and substitute Dom Reed did not earn them any points.

The result kept Shields two points clear at the top of the Pitching In Northern Premier League as they maintained their unbeaten start to the league campaign.

The Mariners had tasted defeat seven days previously, though, as they were beaten 3-0 by Marske United in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Those expecting there to a hangover from that loss proved to be mistaken as Shields started firmly on the front foot.

Graham Fenton opted to make one change to his starting line-up although it was a significant one, with Will McGowan replacing Ntumba Massanka and Jon Shaw moved up-front, with Robert Briggs pushed back into defence.

It took just five minutes for the new-look Shields to take the lead as a well-worked corner routine reaped dividends.

Briggs clipped the ball in from the left and after it was headed back across the area by Dillon Morse, Darius Osei nodded it goalwards. It may have been heading in but Kempster made sure by sticking out his boot and forcing it home from close range for his first goal of the season.

Shields were well aware of Warrington’s capabilities, having faced numerous problems against the Yellows over the last three seasons.

They possessed a clear threat when given space to work in, and fired a warning to Shields when Jack Mackreth advanced down the right of the area and sent in a low cross which Myles Boney did well to clear with a foot.

The majority of the bright attacking play came at the other end, though, and the Mariners had a second opportunity as Kempster nodded the ball back to Conor Tee and his goalbound drive was deflected over.

A similar chance fell the way of Dan Martin on the opposite side of the area, with his fizzed strike seemingly headed for the top corner before hitting the head of a defender.

It was an impressive start by Shields but Warrington remained in the game and went close to equalising with a pure hit from distance by Jordan Buckley which whistled narrowly over Boney’s crossbar.

The near miss at the other end did not deter the Mariners, and they were awarded a penalty shortly before the half-hour mark when Tee controlled the ball beautifully before dancing past a defender and being fouled in the area.

Briggs – who had failed to convert his most recent penalty, at Radcliffe – made no mistake from 12 yards as he sent Atherton the wrong way to double the home side’s lead.

Warrington had a golden opportunity to halve their deficit less than a minute into the second half as Josh Amis turned in the area and powered an effort just over.

Rolling back the years in his striking role, Shaw almost added his name to the scoresheet soon after as Osei found him with a cross from the right of the box and his strike was beaten away by Atherton, before he sent the rebound wide.

Shields did not have to wait too much longer for the third goal, which again arrived via the penalty spot after McGowan had brilliantly found Kempster and he was tripped on the left of the area. For the second time, Briggs sent Atherton the wrong way to extend his side’s advantage.

The Mariners were playing with real confidence and that was underlined when Martin switched the ball onto his left foot before unleashing a sweet strike which was destined for the net before being brilliantly blocked by Warrington captain Mark Roberts.

The Yellows were not in the mood for giving up and pulled a goal back shortly afterwards as Jordan Buckley used his strength to force his way through down the right before finding the bottom corner with a low effort.

Fenton introduced Callum Stead from the bench for his debut as he replaced Shaw on 69 minutes, with Nathan Lowe brought on four minutes later as he made his first appearance since late-August after recovering from a hamstring injury.

The substitutions came as Shields looked to wrestle back control after a period of pressure by Warrington which saw Boney forced into impressive saves from Roberts and Amis.

Lowe, meanwhile, almost made an immediate impact as he shifted the ball onto his left foot and forced Atherton into a low save with an effort from the edge of the area.

Reid ensured it would be a nervy finish for the Mariners as he volleyed home from close range with five minutes left but the hosts responded well, with substitute Will Jenkins twice forcing Atherton into saves and Lowe also denied by the goalkeeper.

The nerves continued to jangle but there was to be no late equaliser for the visitors as Shields saw it out.

The Mariners are back in action at 1st Cloud Arena on Tuesday as they host Lancaster City in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.

South Shields: Boney, Martin, Bodenham, Shaw (Stead 69), Morse, Ross (c), McGowan (Jenkins 82), Briggs, Osei, Tee (Lowe 73), Kempster. Subs not used: Hodgson, Massanka.

Goals: Kempster (5), Briggs (pen 29, pen 56).

Attendance: 2,148.

Image: Craig McNair.

Blair Adams has been named captain of the first-team, with Callum Ross assuming the role of vice-captain.

Adams had previously served as vice-captain under the captaincy of Robert Briggs, who will continue to be a vital member of the squad.

South Shields manager Graham Fenton said: “I’ve made the decision to change the captaincy of the first-team.

“Over the past few months, I’ve required the captain of the club to be at the training ground on a regular basis and due to Robert’s personal circumstances and work schedule, he has not been able to fulfil that responsibility.

“I felt that the decision we made to give Robbie the armband was the right one at that time as a natural progression from vice-captain to captain, but in hindsight it was possibly the wrong decision due to his availability for training on a daily basis.

“I’d like to thank Robbie for all the time, effort and professionalism he brought across the years in his roles as as vice-captain and captain.

“Making this change has been a really difficult decision but ultimately I feel that it’s the right one and that Robbie will still be able to show great leadership skills on and off the pitch moving forwards.

“Blair and Callum are able to commit to full-time training and will be here on a daily basis, so will be able to help pass on any messages we need to get across to the players.

“They both lead by example and are very popular members of the squad, and we wish them good luck in their new roles.”