Stef Galinski scrambled home Ryan Wilson’s corner deep into first half stoppage time as United weathered heavy pressure throughout to hold on and secure a fine result in front of well over 2,000 on South Tyneside.
“It’s probably the best performance in terms of who the opposition were,” manager Steve Chettle said. “Our best performance defensively? Possibly. Our best performance all-round? Maybe not.
“But the resilience the lads have shown, even in the adversity of losing Terry [Hawkridge] and with Stef [Galinski] coming back into the group, Matt [Thornhill] and Marcus [Marshall] too, it was a great all-round effort.
“I said to the lads inside after the game that it’s not about formations or tactics, it’s about being hard to beat and doing what you can to win a game.
“Michael [assistant, Leslie] and I – both centre backs, or old centre backs, shall we say, would’ve loved to have played in a game like that.
“You see the joy people like Adam, Stef, Dom and Brad get from doing their role really, really well and they were absolutely fantastic – every man was fantastic.
Chettle made three changes to the side that lost against FC United of Manchester on Tuesday night as the returning skipper Matt Thornhill took the place of Alex Howes who missed out altogether.
Galinski came back into the side to partner Brad Gascoigne in the centre of defence and Marcus Marshall took the place of Aaron O’Connor who dropped to the bench.
United made the near four-hour journey north looking for a swift reverse of their last two fixtures; 1-0 defeats at Banbury and FC United and started well.
Declan Dunn looked to test Myles Boney in the home goal early on but dragged harmlessly wide and a decent spell in possession yielded successive corners which came to nothing.
Rev James then poked Dom Roma’s cross just wide of the post as United – underdogs from the start – looked promising.
The full-timers, meanwhile, always posed their own threat and buoyed by their impressive home following, Connor Tee tested Adam Collin with a sumptuously curled effort, but the ‘keeper saved smartly.
Dillon Morse then headed the resultant corner goal wards, only to be denied off the line by James before Darius Osei – Shields’ leading goal scorer this term – squanded a wonderful chance to put his side one up with a downward header that looped over.
The game settled, as did the chances a frantic opening half hour yielded and raucous home shouts for two penalties went ignored, despite Roma and Thornhill looking at referee Greg Hart rather sheepishly.
Things turned rather sour seven minutes before the break when Terry Hawkridge – typically instrumental – went down under a challenge from Blair Adams and was forced to withdraw with his right leg in a brace.
As a result, over ten minutes of stoppage time was added, and it was in the fourth of those when both Thornhill and Galinski both claimed the opener after Wilson’s wicked delivery was bundled over the line; the latter eventually credited.
If home pressure wasn’t forced enough in the first half, it most certainly was in the second and Osei’s cross to Kempster was tempting, but the winger couldn’t quite reach on a stretch.
A rare United venture forward saw James and Marshall combine but ‘keeper Boney gathered with ease, and there was little in terms of action until Briggs’ free-kick just after the hour was poorly dispatched.
Galinski and Gascoigne were colossal in the heart of Chettle’s back line but could only watch on as Daniel Martin nipped inside to whip a decent chance inches over Collin’s crossbar.
The seconds ticked, as did the number of headers cleared at all angles as the hefty crowd at the 1st Cloud Arena became restless.
Wilson came close to fortuitously adding a second when his 76th minute corner was tipped awkwardly over by Boney as the relentless bombardment continued but United stood strong.
Blair Rossiter looked lively and should have equalised late on when he angled Kempster’s cross wide with his head and Collin did wonderfully to deny the substitute, tipping a near-post effort wide as a memorable result was sealed.
On Galinski’s return and goal, United’s boss added: “I’m not surprised. Stef’s a fantastic attribute to this Football Club.
“He’s a leader, even when he’s not been involved with the team with the results we’ve had. He’s been around the lads a lot and he’s a massive part of this club and he’ll be here for a long time in my eyes.
“It’s great to have him back and he really enjoyed himself out there. I know it’s been tough, and they dominated the ball really well and they’re a good football team but sometimes you just have to find a way to win a game and it was our day.”
Attention turns to the visit of unbeaten Buxton on Tuesday night (October 12) in the Northern Premier League.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Myles Boney, Dan Martin, Blair Adams (Blair Rossiter 60’), Callum Ross (Callum Stead 82’), Dillon Morse, Jack Bodenham, Conor Tee, Robert Briggs, Darius Osei, Will McGowan (Nathan Lowe 59’), Alex Kempster
SUBS NOT USED: Jon Shaw, Sam Hodgson
BASFORD UNITED: Adam Collin, Dominic Roma, Ryan Wilson, Brad Gascoigne, Steff Galinski, Declan Dunn (Owen Betts 80’), Terry Hawkridge (Reco Fyfe 42’), Matt Thornhill, Marcus Marshall, Kane Richards, Rev James (Aaron O’Connor 73’)
SUBS NOT USED: Josh Scott, Jordan Pierrepont