North Shields lost their Northern League season opener on Saturday when Ryhope CW recorded their first ever win against the Robins.
Looking to start in positive fashion after the disappointment of a midweek exit to Marske United in their FA Cup replay, things did not go to plan.
Thomas Bott scored what proved to be the only goal of the game inside the opening quarter of an hour.
Ryhope had a numerous of chances to kill the game off but Shields held out to create a tense finish.
But the Robins’ late pressure was not enough as the hardworking visitors held out for a surprise victory.
Following the midweek FA Cup exit, Robins boss Brian Smith made four changes to his starting 11 with Kurtis Dodds, Joe Robson, David Henderson and Paul Robinson all replacing Adam Forster, Craig McFarlane, Gary Ormston and Dean Holmes.
Corey Nicholson was emerging as the visitors’ danger man in the opening stages and it was his energetic run that helped give his side the lead on 13 minutes.
The winger carried the ball forward into the area and with a bit of luck involving a ricochet off Jack Donnison, the ball fell into the path of Bott, who thrashed it past Kyle Hayes.
Likewise, to Wednesday’s defeat, the Robins struggled to get players on the attack with striker Dan Wilson left isolated.
His only opportunity of the first half came with a deflected low effort that was flicked behind on 19 minutes.
Shields’ performance did briefly improve after the half hour mark as Robinson forced a brilliant left-sided save out of keeper Jonathan Ball from a driven free kick.
But Ryhope squandered an easier chance to the one they scored on 41 minutes. The Robins defence stopped as they expected a throw-in to be given and that allowed Joseph Melvin in but he poorly shot wide.
In the 43rd minute there was a big chance at both ends. First, Ball produced another save to deny Lee Mason before Bott chipped an effort over Hayes’ goal.
With Ryhope winning too many midfield battles in the first half, Smith tightened up his midfield by adding in Adam Forster and replacing right back Jack Donnison.
Shields began the half lively with John Parker having a blocked effort from close-range.
But they failed to build any momentum and Ryhope threatened a second.
Melvin again missed an opportunity to give his side breathing space – putting his shot past the far post.
Nicholson then had the ball in the net on 57 minutes after rounding Hayes, but the assistant flagged for offside.
And Lay also fired over the crossbar when he should have done better. Then Lay was back for another effort in the 67th minute when he hit the outside of the post.
Robins’ chances of finding an equaliser shortened as Dodds hobbled off on 74 minutes as Shields had already used all three of their substitutions.
But Shields did not go down without a fight in final ten minutes as Ball produced a fabulous save from a powerful effort before substitute Joe Kerridge has an effort headed off the line.
That is now two defeats in a week for the Robins who stand without a competitive win after three games.
North Shields: Hayes, Donnison (Forster), Summerly, Dodd, Parker, Hughes, Robson (Kerridge), Henderson, Wilson, Mason, Robinson (Luccock).
Shields are at home to Bishop Auckland on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, then travel to Washington on Wednesday, August 23, kick-off 7.45pm.