Whickham 2-1 South Shields
By Daniel Prince. Match sponsored by: The Mile.
Whickham came from behind to inflict a fourth straight defeat on South Shields on Saturday.
The Mariners led at the break thanks to a strike from Paul Kane, but the hosts turned things around in the second half to claim all three points.
Shields welcomed back Chris Locke and Stephen Ramsey from suspension for the game, while Steven Hubery and Ryan Bolam also returned to the side.
It was Whickham who had the brightest start, and Hubery had to keep out an effort from Mark Pattison in the first minute.
Shields grew into the game from there, though, and their first effort came from Kane, who fired over from 35 yards.
The Mariners continued to press, and a move down the left which included Bolam, Barrie Smith and Chris Renshaw led to a shot from the edge of the box from James Talbot which was blocked by Andrew Brown.
Stephen Ramsey had a big claim for a penalty turned down, before Shields took the lead on 29 minutes.
The Mariners enjoyed a good period of possession in the centre before the ball was played out to Talbot on the right, and he delivered a cross into the box.
Kane collected it with his back to goal eight yards out before turning his man and firing a low shot which had enough to squirm under the goalkeeper and give him his 23rd goal of the season.
The visitors suffered a blow after that, with Michael Turner forced to come off due to illness, and he was replaced by the vastly experienced Chris Feasey at left-back.
Whickham struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities before half-time, with Scott Donaldson heading over from a free-kick, while at the other end, Smith charged down home goalkeeper John Mordey, who gratefully caught the ball at the second time of asking.
Chad Collins sent Shields a warning sign a minute before the break when his powerful shot was beaten away by Hubery, but the Mariners went in at half-time leading 1-0.
Within 10 minutes of the restart, though, Whickham were level.
The hosts got in behind the Shields defence on the left, and Collins sent an inch-perfect ball into the centre for Scott Swanston, who swept it home from six yards.
Collins again got in behind on the left two minutes later, and this time he pulled it back for Craig Jelley, who dragged a shot wide.
Shields needed to regroup, but they almost responded in perfect fashion with a swift counter-attack.
Kane got hold of the ball in the centre of the park and tried to squeeze a pass through for Bolam on the inside-right of the box, but Mordey just got there before the Shields teenager could get a toe on it.
Bolam nodded wide soon after following a left-wing cross from Kane, while Smith sent a shot wide as Shields looked to regain the lead.
However, their hopes were dashed on 73 minutes when Whickham struck again.
Collins collected the ball near halfway and went on a storming run down the right before cutting inside and firing a low shot inside the near post.
That gave Whickham the belief to attack further, and within a minute, they almost went 3-1 up when a right-wing cross just evaded Pattison in front of goal.
Shields pressed for an equaliser in the remainder of the game, and Ramsey was just beaten to the ball by Mordey, while Aron Burn narrowly avoided contact after a superb in-swinging corner by substitute Alex Kempster.
The Mariners gradually ran out of time, but they had two good opportunities to grab an equaliser in the closing stages.
As the clock ticked onto the 90-minute mark, Kempster launched a deep cross from the right which was controlled by Feasey at the back post.
He touched it inside his defender and looked set to score, but his low shot was beaten away by Mordey.
A final chance arrived deep into stoppage time when Ben Riding’s long throw was spilled, but there was no-one on hand to tap home and give Shields a leveller they would have warranted.
They left Whickham with no points, and will look to bring their losing run to an end on Monday, when they travel to Esh Winning.
WHICKHAM: Mordey, Soutar, Oman, Brown, Donaldson, Jelley, Best (O’Reilly 63), Peareth (c), Swanston (Aiston 83), Collins, Pattison. Subs not used: Rook, M Fitzpatrick.
Goals: Swanston (55), Collins (73).
SOUTH SHIELDS: Hubery, Locke (c), Turner (Feasey 31), Burn, Riding, Renshaw, Talbot (Kempster 75), Smith, Ramsey, Kane, Bolam (N Evans 75). Subs not used: Baker, Bainbridge.
Goal: Kane (29).