South Shields were eliminated from the Durham Challenge Cup as Sunderland’s Under-23s recovered from two goals down with a clinical display at 1st Cloud Arena.

Sam Hodgson struck twice inside the first six minutes to hand Shields a perfect start, but the Black Cats fought back and were level at the break thanks to goals from Oliver Younger and Ellis Taylor.

Nicky Gyimah scored less than two minutes into the second half as Sunderland went ahead for the first time and when Nathan Lowe received a straight red card soon after, the Mariners’ task was made all the tougher.

Stephen Wearne added a fourth for the visitors and Taylor concluded the scoring with his second of the night as the Wearsiders booked their place in the first round.

Taylor was a bright spark throughout for Elliott Dickman’s side and he fired the first effort at goal by cutting inside from the right and curling a shot which Aaron Steavens did well to push away.

The resulting corner was cleared by Shields, who sprung into a counter-attack as Cedric Main raced away down the right before playing the ball inside to Hodgson, whose terrific drive from 25 yards kissed the underside of the crossbar before nestling in the goal.

One quickly became two for the hosts when Hodgson chased a seemingly lost cause, forced Cameron Jessup into a mistake, rounded goalkeeper Jack McIntyre and rolled home his second of the night.

It was a near-perfect start from the Mariners but Sunderland caught their breath and began to establish themselves in the game the longer the first half went on.

Tom Scott sent a shot wide from distance and Jack Bodenham made important blocks from Gyimah and Will Harris as Shields attempted to keep the away team at bay.

Their resistance was broken just before the half-hour mark, though, when Wearne’s floated corner from the left was powerfully headed past Steavens by Younger.

Main produced an eye-catching performance on his first start for Shields and he was presented with an opportunity for his maiden goal five minutes before half-time after being found by Callum Ross, but McIntyre parried his effort. The Mariners kept the ball alive and it eventually found its way to Blair Adams, who fired over from the left of the area.

It was a positive spell by Shields as half-time approached and Main drew another save from McIntrye with a low strike from just outside the box.

Their good work was undone just before the break, though, thanks to a piece of individual brilliance by Taylor as he unleashed a powerful left-footed drive from 25 yards which found the net via a glance of the crossbar.

The turnaround was completed less than two minutes into the second half with a deft finish by Gyimah, who pounced on a ball over the top and lifted it over Steavens before watching as it struck the inside of the post and went in.

There was an opportunity for a quickfire equaliser as Hodgson threatened a hat-trick, but his drive from just inside the area took a deflection and was tipped wide by McIntrye.

Within three minutes of that, Shields were reduced to 10 men when Lowe was controversially sent off for something he was adjudged to have said.

That made the Mariners’ task an uphill one against a technically gifted side which went on to create most of the remaining opportunities in the match.

Steavens saved well from Taylor after he evaded the defence and Younger headed narrowly wide just after the hour mark as Sunderland looked to kill the tie off.

A delicate effort from distance by Warne was pushed wide by Steavens but there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to keep Wearne off the scoresheet less than a minute later as his scorcher from the edge of the box rose into the top corner to double his side’s lead.

Steavens was being regularly called into action at this stage and he did well to kick away a fierce shot by Kenton Richardson before being beaten within seconds when Harris played in Taylor and he stroked in his second of the evening.

Shields’ best chance for a consolation was a header from Jack Bodenham which went wide from a Blair Rossiter corner, and at the other end there was a well-struck effort by Tyrese Dyce which cleared the crossbar.

Sunderland took their opportunities well to claim their place in the first round as the Mariners’ hopes of lifting the trophy for the first time since 2017 were dashed.

Graham Fenton’s side will aim to return to winning ways on Saturday when they travel to Marine in the Buildbase FA Trophy.

South Shields: Steavens, Neary (Martin 58), Adams (c), Ross (McGowan 78), Agnew, Bodenham, Rossiter, Briggs, Hodgson, Lowe, Main (Kempster 58). Subs not used: Morse, Massanka.

Goals: Hodgson (4, 6).

Red card: Lowe (51).

Attendance: 946.

Image: Kev Wilson.

Cedric Main is set to make his first start for South Shields as the Mariners entertain Sunderland’s Under-23s in the second preliminary round of the Durham Challenge Cup.

Main made his debut for the club as a substitute in Saturday’s league fixture against Buxton, but is set for a starting role in Wednesday’s match at 1st Cloud Arena.

The match will kick-off at 7.30pm, with admission costing £6 for adults, £4 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £2 for under-16s.

Main is part of a strong squad, with midfielders Robert Briggs and Callum Ross among the others in contention to start for the Mariners after missing Saturday’s league defeat to Buxton with COVID-19.

South Shields squad to face Sunderland Under-23s (from): Myles Boney, Aaron Steavens, Blair Adams, Dom Agnew, Jack Bodenham, Dan Martin, Dillon Morse, Harvey Neary, Robert Briggs, Nathan Lowe, Will McGowan, Callum Ross, Blair Rossiter, Sam Hodgson, Alex Kempster, Cedric Main, Ntumba Massanka

Manager Graham Fenton is expecting an entertaining encounter.

He said: “Myself and Jon (Shaw) have seen Sunderland’s Under-23s play on numerous occasions this season and we look forward to seeing what sort of team they’re able to put out after the first-team’s game on Tuesday.

“I’m sure that whichever team they field will provide us with healthy competition and we’re expecting another tough challenge.”

Shields remain without Jordan Hunter (arm), Joao Gomes (knee) and Will Jenkins (leg).

The winners of Wednesday’s game will travel to Crook Town in the first round of the competition.

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 7.30pm and admission prices are £6 for adults, £4 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £2 for under-16s. The turnstiles will open at 5.30pm and tickets can be bought in advance by clicking here before 3pm on Wednesday. Cash payments will be accepted at the gates.

Season tickets are not valid for this fixture, but those season ticket holders with a seat in the stand will have their seat reserved for them until 10 minutes after the game begins. Those supporters will simply have to pay their entry price and then take their seat. Any seats which are not taken by 10 minutes into the match will be made available for other fans.

Those who have a season ticket on the balcony will also have a place on the balcony reserved for them, so are asked to bring their season ticket with them to show to security staff at the doors of the balcony.

Meanwhile, Happy Hour prices will apply between 5.30pm and 7pm, when pints of Birra Moretti will be reduced to £3, John Smith’s to £2, Foster’s to £2.50, Strongbow and Dark Fruits to £2.50, and IPA to £2.50, while a small bottle of wine will cost £3 and a house vodka double with gun mixer is £2.50.

Tickets for the Durham Challenge Cup fixture between South Shields and Sunderland Under-23s are on general sale.

The second preliminary round tie is being held at 1st Cloud Arena on Wednesday, October 27th and will kick-off at 7.30pm.

Tickets are priced at £6 for adults, £4 for over-65s, students and disabled supporters, and £2 for under-16s. Cash turnstiles will be in operation but purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended to ease queuing.

Supporters are reminded that, as this is a cup fixture, season tickets are not valid.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

Hospitality, meanwhile, is available at £25 per person. This will include a two-course meal, a table in the Shipley Heating Lounge, your first drink free, a match programme, access to exclusive drinks packages and much more.

You can secure your place in hospitality while availability lasts by clicking on the above link or sending an email to louise.hutchinson@southshieldsfc.co.uk