South Shields started the NERWFL season with a loss as they were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Sunderland West End on Sunday.

A last minute goal proved the Mariners’ undoing after a spirited fightback had looked set to seal a point for Scott Curtis’ side.

Shields started well as Eve Gatens fired a well-hit free-kick just over the bar from distance.

Gatens then had another great chance as she beat her defender with ease and struck a powerful effort which stung the palms of the goalkeeper.

The Mariners’ strong start continued, with Gatens at the heart of the action. Her wonderfully floated corner found Megan Archbold, whose header went wide.

West End grew into proceedings and went close to scoring when a free-kick was floated into the area and evaded everyone before narrowly drifting wide.

The home side did take the lead shortly afterwards. Another dangerous free-kick, similar to the previous attempt, found the right side of the net.

Shields almost found an immediate response through Isla Maggs. A whipped cross by Gatens found Maggs in the area, but her header flew just wide.

A period of pressure after the interval paid off as Alex Miller brought the Mariners level. Another fine corner from Gatens picked out Miller with a free header, which she powered into the back of the net.

Shortly afterwards, Shields nearly took the lead. A great one-two between Gatens and Sophie White saw an effort on target, but the goalkeeper saved with ease.

However, Sunderland West End edged in front once again. Similar to their first, a floated cross-come-shot found the back of the net.

The Mariners equalised with a few minutes remaining through Maggs. Georgia Telford played a brilliant pass down the touchline for Maggs to chase, and she beat her defender before slotting into the bottom corner.

It ultimately, though, ended in heartbreak for Shields. A quick counter-attack by West End resulted in a well-placed finish into the bottom corner, which saw the hosts win it.

After the game, Shields head coach Scott Curtis said: “We were all disappointed to concede so late after getting level twice.

“There were positives to take, as we created plenty of chances and the movement of the lasses was great. We’re definitely happy with the performance.”

South Shields Reserves made it four Wearside League wins out of six on Monday with an impressive 3-2 victory over Sunderland West End.

The Mariners had to show plenty of battling qualities at the Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare Ground after twice falling behind, with a superb second half response sealing the three points.

The first half was more difficult for Shields, with West End starting brightly.

Mariners goalkeeper Curtis Richardson did well to keep out an early effort from David Keithley, while at the other end, James Wilson’s long-range strike was kept out.

The visitors took the lead on 25 minutes when a through ball found Kieron Martin on the inside-right of the box, and he slotted it home.

However, Shields did not let their heads drop, and equalised immediately from the kick-off as Matthew Davidson squeezed a pass through for Olly Martin, who rolled the ball back and beat his man with some great skill before placing the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

The hosts were unable to build on that, and within two minutes West End were back in front again when a deflected shot from Jordan Cook looped in the air and bounced in.

They could have gone further ahead before half-time, but Richardson in the Shields goal did brilliantly to keep out efforts from Kyle Young and Martin.

Davidson almost restored parity three minutes before half-time, with Jonny Bainbridge spraying a ball out wide and Martin delivering the cross, but he hit his effort just over.

In the second half, Shields started well, and they were level on 57 minutes when Davidson beat his man on the right and delivered an inch-perfect cross which Nathan Sinclair headed in at the back post.

Both sides had chances after that, with Young for West End and Davidson for Shields going close, but it was the home team who took the lead for the first time on 66 minutes.

This time Jack Donaghy was the supplier as his low cross from the right was bundled into the net by Harry Simpson.

Ewan Simpson had an opportunity to wrap up the three points, but hit an effort over, while West End were reduced to 10 men late on when Martin deliberately stamped on Davidson.

The Mariners held on for another three impressive points as they moved up to fourth in the Wearside League.

They are again in action at the Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare Ground, against Harton and Westoe, on Wednesday, with kick-off at 6.30pm.

SOUTH SHIELDS RESERVES: Richardson, Bainbridge, Sinclair, H Simpson, E Simpson, Marsden, Martin (Dixon 73), Crutwell (c), Donaghy (Hope 80), Davidson, Wilson (Whelan 46). Subs not used: Brown, Hudson.

Goals: Martin (26), Sinclair (57), H Simpson (66).