Radcliffe FC were narrowly edged out by South Shields 1-0 in a tight opening day fixture at the Neuven Stadium.
A Robert Briggs thunderbolt from 30 yards shortly after half time was enough to separate the two sides.
Both teams ended the game with ten men as Jason Gilchrist and Harry Winter saw red either side of the half time whistle.
The Mariners started the better of the two sides in the opening stages. Josh Gillies looked to create the first opportunity of the game but his cross was well cleared by the Boro defence.
Dillon Morse had two opportunities to open the scoring for the away side but he saw both his headers go narrowly wide of Ollie Martin’s goal.
Callum Grogan had the Boro’s first real chance on goal but his effort flew over the bar.
Moments later the Referee had to reach to his pocket. Jason Gilchrist received a red card for an off the ball incident in the midfield.
The 11 men of Radcliffe were beginning to tell as they began to carve out some great chances. New signing Danny Mitchley with the best of the chances as he out muscled his defender before slicing wide of the Shields goal.
Just two minutes after the restart the Boro saw another golden opportunity go begging. Rick Smith headed back across goal to Ben Wharton but he couldn’t direct a shot goalwards under pressure.
Six minutes after the restart the deadlock was broken. Robert Briggs fired the away side into an unlikely lead. His 30 yard effort flew into the top corner of Martin’s goal. A moment of brilliance from the midfielder.
It was very nearly two for the visitors but for a brilliant one handed save from Martin in between the Boro sticks.
The Boro were looking for way back into the game with 30 minutes remaining in the clock. Captain Kinglsey Williams had a brilliant opportunity to grab the equaliser but his effort flew over the bar.
On 70 minutes Harry Winter received a second yellow for a professional foul on David Foley, leaving both sides with 10 men.
Jon Macken’s men continued to knock on the door in the closing stages of the game but the Mariners managed to hang on to claim the first three points of the season.