South Shields fight back from one-goal down to earn hard-fought win at Hyde United
South Shields came from behind as second half goals from Callum Ross and Darius Osei secured a hard-fought win at Hyde United on Saturday.
The Mariners found themselves trailing at half-time after Ross headed into his own net from a Hyde corner.
Their general play had shown much promise, though, and that was rewarded as Ross and Osei scored inside three minutes of each other to turn the scoreline on its head.
A tremendous late save by Myles Boney helped Shields over the line on a day their ranks were depleted, with the likes of Jordan Hunter, Robert Briggs and Nathan Lowe all unavailable.
The visitors adapted in the absence of that trio, with Will Jenkins fielded in an unfamiliar right wing-back role in place of Hunter, who broke his arm in training the day before the game.
Graham Fenton's side started on the front foot and dominated possession in the early stages, only to concede against the run of play.
Liam Tongue curled in a corner from the Hyde left and, under pressure from Jack Sherratt, Ross inadvertently headed the ball past Boney to hand the hosts the lead.
The Mariners responded calmly to that blow as they patiently probed for openings and a return to parity.
They created a glorious opportunity midway through the first half as Will McGowan split the home defence with a terrific pass to Osei, who snatched at his effort and saw it drift wide.
Shields had failed to win in their previous three visits to Ewen Fields and could have gone two goals behind when Tongue let fly from the edge of the box, but his strike comfortably cleared Boney's crossbar.
Hyde goalkeeper Joe Green was called into action for the first time just before the half-hour as Conor Tee brought the ball onto his right foot and curled in a delivery from the left which Green clawed away.
The Mariners' influence on the game increased as the first half progressed and Tee produced another decent chance as his corner found Jack Bodenham, who turned over from close range when off balance.
Blair Adams tested the reflexes of Green with a low whipped cross which the goalkeeper did well to hold, but Hyde retained a threat at the other end and almost extended their advantage as a volley from the edge of the box by Tongue flashed just past the post.
Shields were incensed when a penalty appeal was waved away after a robust challenge on Adams, while Osei and Ntumba Massanka were denied by blocks in an action-packed end to the first half.
They went in at the break seeking improvements but in the belief they were unfortunate to be behind.
The away side set about overturning their deficit in the second half but first needed to survive a Hyde counter-attack which resulted in Theo Bailey-Jones firing narrowly over from the right of the area.
Shields introduced Alex Kempster from the bench shortly afterwards and the forward had a hugely positive impact on the game, providing his team with an added impetus on the left flank.
The Mariners set about peppering Green's goal with efforts from distance, but the goalkeeper was equal to a strike from Ross and satisfied to watch attempts from Tee and Bodenham clear his crossbar, before saving from Kempster.
There was a sense that Shields' dominance was growing and an equaliser was imminent, and so it proved as a series of three corners led to the breakthrough on 65 minutes.
McGowan curled the ball into the six-yard box and onto the head of Ross, who found the net for the second time in the afternoon to level the scores and add to a growing belief the match may be there for the taking.
A second goal arrived just three minutes later when Bodenham's ball into the area was nodded down by Massanka to Tee, whose effort was parried by Green. The rebound broke to Adams and although Jordan Fagbola blocked his strike, Osei pounced on the loose ball and turned to fire home.
That gave Shields the advantage and they looked likely to see out the win relatively comfortably as they dominated possession. In the closing stages, though, Hyde hit back.
As the game ticked into stoppage time, a free-kick from the left was met by the head of Cameron Fogerty and his effort was destined for the bottom corner before being tremendously tipped wide by the outstretched hand of Boney.
It was a crucial intervention from the goalkeeper to preserve his side's victory, which was secured with another Academy graduate on the field as Harvey Neary was brought on for his debut late on.
Shields will look to continue their unbeaten start when they travel to Radcliffe on Tuesday.
Their Under-18s, meanwhile, are at home to Pickering Town in the FA Youth Cup on Monday.
Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 7.30pm and admission prices are £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.
South Shields: Boney, Jenkins (Kempster 54), Adams (c), Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, McGowan, Ross, Massanka (Hodgson 76), Tee, Osei (Neary 90+3). Subs not used: Steavens, Rossiter.
Goals: Ross (65), Osei (68).