Martin Smith’s late stunner earned South Shields a well-fought draw with Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday as the hosts extended their unbeaten start to the season.
Smith, who found the net from some distance deep into stoppage time, cancelled out a second half Hayden Cann strike as the game ended 1-1.
The Mariners again had much of the territory and possession, but for the third match in succession, they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
Kevin Phillips selected a side featuring four changes from the team which started against Marine three days earlier, with Jordan Hunter, Will McGowan and Dylan Mottley-Henry introduced to the line-up along with Dillon Morse, who made his first appearance of the season.
Hunter had the first sight of goal for Shields, but his low, left-footed effort was straight at Matt Yates. Curtis Durose came close for the visitors moments later, but his curling strike was straight at Myles Boney.
The chances kept coming for Shields, and Mottley-Henry was denied by an incredible Yates save. The winger turned brilliantly and smashed an effort towards the top corner, but the goalkeeper somehow kept it out. Mottley-Henry was making things happen in the first half, and headed just over from a Hunter cross soon after.
Boney was called into action as an Ethan Bojan free-kick, bound for the bottom corner, was tipped wide.
But it was the Mariners creating most of the opportunities, with Michael Woods the next to go close as he raced onto a loose ball just outside the area while in acres of space, but his controlled effort was narrowly wide of the target.
McGowan curled a first-time shot towards goal but Yates did well to match his strike and hold onto the ball. Yates was called into action yet again as Smith slipped Mottley-Henry in on goal, but Shields were denied once more.
Gainsborough found the break through halfway through the second half. A floated free-kick from halfway found Cann at the back post and he smashed the ball beyond Boney.
Shields had a great chance to get back into the game immediately. Hunter floated a great cross into the back post, but substitute Darius Osei couldn’t get a clean connection on his header.
Bradley Grayson went through on goal for the visitors at the other end as they had an opportunity to make the points safe, but Boney made an excellent save.
The Mariners pushed for an equaliser, but struggled to break down the Gainsborough defence as the match headed into added time.
However, Smith took matters into his own hands and struck a piledrive of an effort into the far corner from 30 yards, tying the game up at the death.
Shields are in action away to Nantwich Town on Saturday as they aim for a return to winning ways.
South Shields: Boney, Hunter, Liddle, Morse, Adams (c), Smith, Woods, McGowan (Briggs 79), Mottley-Henry, Gomes, Alessandra (Osei 70) (Doherty 88). Subs not used: Newton, Bodenham.
Goal: Smith (90).
Image: Kev Wilson.