Michael Woods notched a second half equaliser as South Shields drew 1-1 with Ashton United in their first away game of the 2022-23 season on Tuesday.
Woods’ second goal in as many games cancelled out Cole Lonsdale’s free-kick as the Mariners made it four points from their opening two fixtures.
Kevin Phillips’ side pushed for a winner and dominated much of the possession and territory, but ultimately had to settle for a point in Greater Manchester.
Shields’ starting XI was unchanged from their opening day victory over Stalybridge Celtic, and they started on the front foot against a team which took four points from them last season.
A chance arrived as early as the fourth minute, with Mackenzie Heaney’s header from a Dylan Mottley-Henry cross pushed wide by Ashton goalkeeper Greg Hartley.
Hartley also beat away a 25 yard free-kick from Martin Smith, but it was the hosts who struck first on 34 minutes. Lonsdale’s superbly-struck free-kick whistled into the corner of the net to open the scoring.
Buoyed by the goal, Ashton had a half-chance to double their lead, but Michael Brewster nodded wide from a George Milner cross.
There were also opportunities for Shields before half-time, the first two of which went to Mottley-Henry, who almost pounced on some uncertainty in the home backline before later failing to get clean contact on an effort which Hartley comfortably kept out.
Will McGowan had two headed chances within a minute in first half stoppage time, with the first drifting wide before the second was pushed clear by Hartley.
The Mariners began the second half strongly and after a number of threatening situations, they thought they had equalised on 49 minutes.
Smith’s strike from the edge of the box was parried by Hartley and Mottley-Henry showed great desire to get to the rebound and force the ball home, only for the celebrations to be cut short by a controversial offside flag.
The leveller deservedly came on the hour mark after a probing passing move by Shields which culminated in a clipped pass by substitute Robert Briggs and a drilled half-volley from Woods which went through the legs of Hartley.
The away side had the momentum and will have felt confident of going on to claim maximum points, but chances were harder to come by in the remainder of the second half.
The closest they came was a whipped effort from the right of the area by Heaney which flew not far past Hartley’s right-hand post.
The Mariners are back in action on Saturday when they travel to newly-promoted Marine in the Pitching In Northern Premier League.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Adams (c), Liddle, Bodenham, Smith, Heaney, Woods, Osei (Alessandra 72), McGowan (Briggs 48), Mottley-Henry (Gomes 85). Subs not used: Doherty, Newton.
Goal: Woods (60).
Image: Kevin Wilson.