South Shields’ Northern League Division Two title bid stuttered as they slipped to a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Heaton Stannington last night.
The Mariners were looking to make it 10 league victories in a row, which would have moved them within two wins of promotion.
However, they were poor at Grounsell Park as they suffered a rare loss.
The hosts took the lead in the eighth minute when Ben Telford headed in a free-kick from George Philipson.
Shields responded well, though, and equalised when Julio Arca’s free-kick was spilled to the feet of Martyn Coleman, who made no mistake.
Heaton Stannington’s lead was restored five minutes before half-time when a low ball in from the right found Ryan Bailey, and he slotted home.
David Foley had a decent chance early in the second half, but the Mariners were unable to create many clear-cut opportunities.
They fell a further goal behind on 85 minutes as Heaton’s Steven McCabe hit home a cross from Lewis Burns at the back post.
Shields were sparked into life, and Ben Riding pulled one goal back with a header from a corner.
However, despite late opportunities for Leepaul Scroggins, Riding and Michael Turner, they were unable to salvage a point.
The Mariners return to action on Saturday, when they visit bottom club Stokesley.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Richardson, Smith (Ramsey 77), Turner, Carson, Riding, Brown (Byrne 55), Foley, Scroggins (c), Coleman, Briggs, Arca (Grey 71).