South Shields suffered a second defeat of the season as Easington Colliery battled to a 2-1 win in front of a bumper crowd of 642 at Mariners Park on Saturday.
With Julio Arca watching his new Shields team-mates from the sidelines, and new signings Ryan Noble and Scott Pocklington in the squad, hopes were high for a home victory.
However, Easington again proved to be a tough team for the Mariners to crack, and a superb late winning goal from Paul Wintrip saw them leave South Tyneside with all three points.
Easington started the quicker of the two teams, and Gareth Young was forced into a save from David Laight within the first minute.
Robert Briggs went agonisingly close to giving the Mariners the lead on 17 minutes, with his curled free-kick from just outside the box bouncing back off the crossbar.
Warren Byrne was denied by visiting goalkeeper Kyle Donaldson soon after, while Ben Riding headed narrowly over.
It was Easington who took the lead 11 minutes before half-time, though, with David Paul winning the ball in the centre of the park before finding Laight, who waited before playing it back to the onrushing Paul. He was by this time in the box, and his effort deflected off Lewis Galpin and past Young.
Easington could have taken a more commanding lead into half-time when Paul released Laight on the inside-right of the box, and he flashed an effort just over the bar.
Leepaul Scroggins went even closer at the other end when he let fly from 35 yards, with the ball whistling just past the upright.
Shields started the second half on the front foot, and were awarded a penalty when substitute Noble was forced wide after taking the ball around the goalkeeper, and then tripped by an Easington defender.
Byrne took responsibility, and smashed the ball low into the centre of the goal, with Donaldson diving to his right.
Noble almost completed the turnaround on 55 minutes, with his shot from the right taking a deflection before being clawed onto the bar, and then cleared off the line.
Shields continued to have the better of possession, and were only denied a second goal by a superb Donaldson save as he tipped a close-range shot from Briggs over.
Easington, though, took the lead with nine minutes left when the ball was worked over to Wintrip 25 yards out on the left, and he curled a superb shot beyond Young and into the opposite corner.
Shields tried everything to notch a leveller, but the Mariners were unable to create a clear-cut chance to take a point as Easington left with all three.
The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when Stokesley Sports Club visit Mariners Park for a 3pm kick-off in what could be Arca’s Shields debut.
The home league game against Billingham Synthonia, which was due to take place on Tuesday, will be rescheduled, with Synners now having an FA Vase replay on the same night.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Smith, Turner (Phillips 68), Galpin, Riding, Chapim, Briggs, Scroggins (c), Ramsey (Noble 35), Byrne, Curry (Hall 86). Subs not used: Pocklington, Heptinstall.