North Shields suffered a narrow defeat at current title holders Marske United on Saturday.
The Robins were beaten 2-1 after taking the lead through Dean Holmes.
It was a tense and tight affair as two quality sides battled for supremacy at Mount Pleasant.
Either team could have won it with the travelling contingent happy with the commitment but perhaps not with the rub of the green.
It was the Northern League’s match of the day as the perhaps surprise Northern League champions of last term took on the FA Vase winners.
Adam Forster, the extra time winner on the famous Wembley turf back in May, was concussed at Norton and was unavailable, but with Michael McKeown passing a late fitness test manager Graham Fenton was able to name a strong starting 11 with skipper Kevin Hughes back at the heart of defence.
Young and exciting prospect Jordan Summerly helped set up Dean Holmes to slot past the keeper and it was 1-0 to the Tynesiders on 33 minutes.
But the lead though was short lived as a 20-yard strike from Glen Butterworth found its way through for the equaliser.
Shields old boy Danny Brunskill, sporting Marske colours, struck the woodwork, but then Jamie Owens nodded in from a corner for what proved to be the winner.
Shields never gave up and pressed at times relentlessly but ultimately to no avail.
Centre forward Dan Wilson was particularly impressive, holding the ball up with style and workrate, and it was a mighty relieved Seasiders team that trooped off at the final whistle knowing how fortunate they were to claim all three points.
North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Summerly, McKeown, Parker, Hughes (Ormston), Luccock, Richardson, Wilson, Carr (MGorrigan), Holmes (Pounder). Subs not used: Coulson, Walker.
A video of the game at Marske can be viewed online at North Shields FC TV.
Next up for the Robins is a home game against Sunderland RCA on Wednesday, September 16, then it is the derby meeting with Whitley Bay on Saturday, September 19.
Shields won both league games last season with combined aggregate score of 7-2.
They follow this with a trip to Ryhope for another meeting with Sunderland RCA, this time in the League Cup on Tuesday, September 22, kick-off 7.30pm.