South Shields left it late – but FA Cup heroes Gavin Cogdon and Julio Arca came up trumps when it mattered last night.
The Mariners looked to be heading for a frustrating 0-0 draw against the Evo-Stik League North’s bottom side Goole at Mariners Park.
However, Cogdon and Arca came off the bench to both score in the last four minutes as Shields stayed top of the league.
The result also saw them make it a remarkable 50 wins from 52 games in all competitions.
The crowd of over 1,400 could have been forgiven for arriving at Mariners Park expecting a comfortable victory after Shields’ stunning 3-2 FA Cup win over York City on Saturday.
However, Goole set up to frustrate them, and stuck to their jobs well against a Shields team showing seven changes from the line-up which took on York.
The Mariners hit the bar in the seventh minute when Michael Richardson’s audacious chip was tipped onto the woodwork.
Matty Pattison was one of the hosts’ stand-out performers, and he also hit the woodwork late in the first half as his effort somehow came back off the post.
Pattison also hit the post with a dipping effort in the second half , but Goole continued to frustrate their hosts.
Cogdon, Arca and Robert Briggs were all introduced from the bench, and all played a pivotal role in securing the three points.
Cogdon had a number of half-chances, but at the other end, Liam Connell made a stunning one-handed save to keep Shields level as he denied Piteu Crouz.
The breakthrough came with four minutes late when Cogdon ran onto a terrific through ball from Briggs, touched it round the goalkeeper and finished calmly.
Another scorer from Saturday’s win over York, Arca, added the finishing touch with the Mariners’ second from the penalty spot after Macaulay Parkinson was sent off for handball.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter (c), Callaghan, Lough, Morse, Storey (Arca 68), Stephenson (Briggs 78), Pattison, Sullivan (Cogdon 62), Holmes. Subs not used: Norton, Smith.
Goals: Cogdon (86), Arca (pen 90+3).