South Shields pegged back by a late equaliser against Basford United in Northern Premier League
South Shields were pegged back by a late equaliser as they drew 1-1 with Basford United in the Northern Premier League on Saturday.
The Mariners were on course for maximum points when Darius Osei's goal guided them to a 1-0 lead in the first half.
A superb strike from Mitch Tait with quarter of an hour remaining earned the hosts a share of the spoils, though, as Shields remained second in the table with eight games remaining.
Without the injured Jordan Hunter and suspended Mitch Rose, the Mariners made three changes to the team which started the 1-1 draw at Stafford Rangers the previous Saturday, with Conor Tee, Jon Shaw and Will McGowan introduced to the starting line-up.
They began the game with real vigour and created a chance within 30 seconds when McGowan drove through the centre and found JJ Hooper before he laid it off to Conor Tee, who fired over.
With the travelling support providing a superb atmosphere, Shields dominated possession but the hosts gave them a scare on four minutes with a low strike from distance by Ryan Wilson which Myles Boney watched slide narrowly past his post.
Kevin Phillips' side were playing some attractive football and almost found a reward midway through the first half, but Nathan Lowe's shot was held at the second attempt by home goalkeeper Kieran Preston.
The breakthrough did come soon enough, through, after a fine team move which concluded with a burst forward from Blair Adams. After a strong run he played in Osei, who took a touch before picking out the bottom corner with a composed finish.
There was an opportunity for the visitors to double their lead before half-time when McGowan played in Tee on the right of the area and his drive was beaten away by Preston.
Shields will have felt confident about their chances going into the second half but they found chances hard to come by after the break.
Basford fired two warnings as Rev James had an effort deflected wide and Kane Richards flashed over from the edge of the box.
The Mariners' best opportunity to stretch their advantage came with 20 minutes remaining when Adams provided some impetus from the left and went for goal, but saw his strike crash into the stanchion behind the net.
James lifted a shot narrowly over as the hosts again demonstrated the danger they could pose, before the equaliser was scored in stunning fashion on 75 minutes.
Tait collected the ball 25 yards from goal and struck a superb effort which swerved in the air before nestling in the top corner.
Neither side was able to seriously trouble the opposing defence in the remainder of the match as they were forced to settle for a point apiece.
Second-placed Shields are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Lancaster City for another Northern Premier League fixture.
South Shields: Boney, Tee, Adams (c), Shaw, Morse, Bodenham, Lowe, Briggs, Hooper (Main 77), McGowan (Hodgson 82), Osei. Subs not used: Kempster, Jenkins, Rossiter.
Goal: Osei (26).