A missed penalty proved costly for South Shields as they were beaten 1-0 by Matlock Town on Saturday at Mariners Park.
Despite Shields being the better side throughout, it was the Gladiators who came out on top thanks to an Alex Burne header in the 70th minute.
South Shields were after their third successive win after beating Southport in a penalty shootout in the FA Cup on Tuesday. Sat a place below Shields in the table, Matlock were looking to move on from their 2-0 loss to Guiseley midweek.
The first half was a tight affair between two of the strongest sides in the league, with both teams using their physicality to make crunching challenges and quick runs into the opposition half.
Both teams had chances, but it was South Shields who had the first real sniff of goal. They were awarded a penalty in the twelfth minute after striker, Jason Gilchrist, was brought down in the box.
Mariners’ captain, Robert Briggs, stepped up to the spot, but smashed the ball into the right post before the ball was cleared.
The Gladiators saw plenty of the ball but made panicked decisions resulting in multiple losses of possession.
Crunching fouls were made by both sides throughout the half. Matlock were forced to make a substitution with Joe Bunney replacing the injured Callum Dolan.
Jordan Hunter was a threat down the wing all game, and Dillon Morse also provided a severe threat down the left flank.
Matlock thought they had scored just before half-time, but Bunney’s goal was ruled offside.
South Shields came out the more dominant side in the second half and had their pick of chances on goal.
However, Matlock goalkeeper, Shaun Rowley, kept his side in the game, pulling off some wonderful saves from the many chances the home side had.
The Gladiators gave away half a dozen free-kicks, through reckless challenges and silly fouls, resulting in an array of yellow cards and opportunities for the home side to score.
Shields had many chances to score from these free-kicks and shots from Phil Turnbull and Robert Briggs were clawed away by Rowley.
Matlock made their second substitution of the game in the 63rd minute, with Chippendale replacing Kendall.
South Shields made a substitution soon after as Will McCamley replaced Josh Gilles.
The away side found it difficult to get out of their half, however, a run down the left by Bunney saw him cross the ball for Burne to head home. 1-0 Matlock.
South Shields continued to apply the pressure and Hunter was causing all kinds of problems running down the righthand side and threading through Matlock’s defence to tee up the Mariners’ forward line.
Rowley continued his good work and prevented any chances for a Shields equalizer. Alex Kempster and Jordan Hunter had efforts tipped over the bar.
Gilchrist had the last chance of the game, with a header in the dying minutes hit wide.
Matlock are now fourth in the Pitching In Northern Premier League whilst South Shields have slipped down into eighth.