Warren Byrne stepped off the bench to fire South Shields to a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Whickham last night.
Byrne grabbed his 12th goal in 12 games just six minutes after being brought on as Shields moved up to second in Northern League Division Two.
The Mariners had much the better of the play at the Glebe, but had to show real patience to break the deadlock.
Andrew Bulford fired wide early on, while Leepaul Scroggins hit a free-kick just over from 30 yards soon after.
A Ben Riding long throw beat everyone and hit the crossbar, and the hosts’ best first opportunity fell to Chad Collins, who dribbled through the centre before having a low shot saved by Scott Pocklington.
Shields increased the pressure later in the half, with Jonny Wightman having a shot blocked before Stephen Ramsey’s effort was deflected wide.
Riding and Gilberto Chapim both headed over, and Riding hit the bar with a cross-come-shot on the stroke of half-time.
The Mariners also started the second half strongly, with Ramsey denied by the goalkeeper after Bulford headed the ball into his path.
Wightman, Bulford and Ramsey were all denied as Shields pressed, and Byrne broke the deadlock on 71 minutes.
The striker received the ball with his back to goal on the right, turned his man and then fired into the bottom corner to delight the strong travelling support.
The Mariners saw the game out effectively as they continued to restrict their hosts, sealing a fifth successive victory without conceding a goal.
They host high-flying Northern League Division One side Washington in the FA Vase on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Curry (Turner 68), Galpin, Riding, Chapim, Wightman, Scroggins, Bulford, Ramsey (Byrne 65), Phillips. Subs not used: Young, Heptinstall, Kane.
Goals: Byrne (71).