RADCLIFFE 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 in a game in which both teams finished with 10 men as Jason Gilchrist and Harry Winter each saw red.

The Mariners started the better of the sides with Dillon Morse having two opportunities to open the scoring but heading both narrowly wide of Ollie Martin’s goal.

Callum Grogan had Boro’s first real chance on goal but his effort flew over the bar.

Moments later the referee showed South Shield’s Gilchrist 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 had the best of these after out-muscling his defender but sliced wide of the Shields goal.

Just two minutes after the restart Boro saw another golden opportunity go begging. Rick Smith headed back across goal to Ben Wharton but he could not direct a shot on target.

And six minutes after the restart the deadlock was broken with a moment of brilliance as Briggs’ 30-yard effort flew into the top corner of Martin’s goal

The visitors went close to a second shortly after but Martin kept Radcliffe in contention with a brilliant one-handed save.

At the other end, Boro captain Kingsley Williams had a brilliant opportunity but fired over the bar.

With 20 minutes to play, the sides were evened up as Winter received a second yellow for a foul on David Foley.

Jon Macken’s men continued to press in the closing stages but the Mariners hung on to claim the win.