Updated: Oct 25
South Shields were left to rue missed chances as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Chorley in Vanarama National League North.
The Mariners produced one of their most fluid performances of the campaign, but Chorley proved to be the more clinical of the two sides at Victory Park.
Paul Blackett had struck an equaliser in first half stoppage time for Shields and the visitors went on to have a number of opportunities to go in front.
However, the vital third goal was rifled in by Carlton Ubaezuonu midway through the second half as the home side claimed all three points.
Two changes were made to the Shields team which started the 2-0 win over King's Lynn Town three days earlier, with CJ Clarke and Jed Abbey selected in place of John Lufudu and Michael Woods.
They started superbly, with Luke James having three opportunities in as many minutes from kick-off.
He drew the first of several excellent saves from home goalkeeper Matt Urwin with a snapshot from inside the area, and turned the resulting corner against the crossbar with a volley.
A further opening came when Robert Briggs slid the ball in from the right and James was just unable to get enough contact on it to test Urwin.
Chorley’s first opening came on 18 minutes, with Josh Popoola failing to capitalise on a loose ball in the area which he sent into the arms of Myles Boney.
Shields rebuilt some momentum and were inches away from making a breakthrough when they worked a move down the right and Abbey’s pass found James, whose effort deflected inches past the post.
Briggs also went close with a curler from the edge of the box which bent narrowly wide, with Urwin beaten.
The Mariners were made to pay for failing to make the most of their dominance when Mark Ellis’ long throw from the right bounced in the area and was blazed into the roof of the net by Mike Calveley.
Julio Arca’s men responded well to that blow and almost delivered an immediate riposte, but after turning well in the area, Blackett’s strike took a deflection and went narrowly off target.
They deservedly drew level three minutes into first half stoppage time when Tom Broadbent’s lofted pass was controlled on the run by Clarke, who then squared it to gave Blackett a relatively simple task to score from close range.
There was still time for Shields to carve open another opportunity, but Blair Adams was unable to put them in front before half-time as his drilled shot was deflected wide.
The Mariners continued their positive play into the second half and Blackett looked odds-on to score when he was brilliantly found by Lirak Hasani, but Urwin denied him one-on-one.
Urwin produced an even better reaction stop when he kept out a Broadbent header at his near post.
Shields suffered a sucker punch at the other end on 68 minutes, with Chorley substitute Ubaezuonu unleashing an unstoppable effort into the corner of the net from 25 yards.
Clarke was a constant threat from right-back for the away side and he almost inspired an equaliser with a strong run into the box before an attempted clearance narrowly cleared the crossbar.
As the game went into the closing stages, the Mariners’ belief did not waver and they continued to carve out opportunities.
The best of them saw substitute Aaron Martin’s header parried by Urwin to Blackett, who sent it just the wrong side of the post from near the penalty spot.
Blackett was frustrated again three minutes into stoppage time when he struck the post, and there was still time for Broadbent to win a header from a corner, but the ball went wide.
Shields remain second in the table despite the result, and are away to Brackley Town on Saturday.
South Shields: Boney, Clarke, Adams (c), Liddle, Broadbent, Briggs (Smith 46), Hasani (Woods 74), Abbey (Martin 78), Heaney, Blackett, James. Subs not used: Lufudu, Mongoy.
Goal: Blackett (45+3).