Scarborough Athletic lose out 1-0 on the road at South Shields FC
Full-timers Shields started on the front foot, taking the lead following an early onslaught, and they remained on top for much of the game, but battling Boro recovered from a sluggish start, and almost earned a draw after creating a number of chances in the dying minutes, writes Steve Adamson.
Shields, fielding five of their seven new signings dominated the opening exchanges, with Mackenzie Heaney having a goal-bound strike headed away by Will Thornton, and a shot from the impressive Dylan Mottley-Henry was blocked by Kieran Weledji, before they opened the scoring on seven minutes when a left-wing cross from Mottley-Henry was met with a superb first-time volley from Gary Liddle on the edge of the box, and the ball flew low into the bottom corner.
Sam Hodgson then had a shot beaten away by the Boro keeper, Weledji flung his body in the way of a shot from Mottley-Henry and Will McGowan dinked a shot wide as Shields remained on top, but Boro weathered the storm, and a long-throw from Ash Jackson was headed goalwards by Thornton, but easily gathered by keeper Myles Boney.
Jack Bodenham sent a 30-yard effort narrowly over the Boro bar, then Boro went forward and Kieran Glynn passed to Dom Tear, whose shot was charged down by Liddle.
Just before the interval the Boro keeper made a terrific double save, blocking a long-range strike from Heaney, then foiling Sam Hodgson from the rebound.
Shields again dominated early in the second half, Martin Smith shooting straight at the keeper, and Hodgson firing wide, then Hodgson headed a cross from Heaney just over.
Boro made a triple substitution on the hour, while Shields switched seven players, and Boro enjoyed more possession from then on.
Boro's best move of the game came on 62 minutes when Coulson laid off to Watson, who went past a defender and fired in a shot that was saved, with Luca Colville striking the bar from the rebound. Colville then sent a through-ball to Coulson, who slammed past the keeper, but an offside flag halted his celebrations.
Dylan Cogill twice made timely interventions at the back, blocking a shot from Darius Osei, then sliding in to dispossess James McGeorge.
Shields created two further chances, but Boro's keeper saved at the feet of Ntumba Mussanka, and Joao Gomes raced into a long ball forward and fired into the side-netting.
With Colville, Glynn and Brad Plant now bossing midfield, Boro were on top in the last 15 minutes, and Glynn sent a ball forward to Coulson, who raced past a defender, but his shot was beaten away by keeper Boney, then Glynn set up Colville, who fired narrowly wide of the far post.
The final chance of a late equaliser saw Coulson cut in from the left flank and send a low ball into the goalmouth, for Ryan Watson to drill his shot inches past the post.
BORO: Trialist, Weledji (Cadman 74), Jackson, Heslop (Colville 59), Burton (Cogill 59), Thornton, Maloney, Watson, Coulson, Glynn, Tear (Plant 59)
MAN OF MATCH: Kieran Weledji.