South Shields battled into the semi-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup after a superb performance saw them beat Gateshead 3-2 at Mariners Park.
The Mariners twice took the lead in the first half, but Gateshead twice fought back on level terms before Lewis Teasdale scored a second half winner.
Gateshead included the likes of South Shields-born Jamie Chandler in their team as they named a strong starting line-up in front of a crowd of 646.
The fitness of the professional outfit showed during the match, but Shields’ determination shone through as they forced their way past their National League opponents.
After a tight start, Jimmy Phillips rattled the crossbar for the visitors with a stunning drive from the edge of the box. The ball bounced down and, fortunately for Shields, did not cross the line.
Shields got stronger from that point, and almost took the lead when David Foley’s in-swinging corner was clawed away by visiting goalkeeper Brendan Pearson.
That only delayed the opening goal, though, which arrived from the following corner when a Wayne Phillips corner was bundled into his own net by Matty McCarthy under pressure from Daryll Hall.
Phillips also headed an effort not far wide, but Gateshead continued to look dangerous and good on the ball.
Joe Hailes went close to an equaliser when he dribbled inside from the left before having an effort deflected just past the post.
Soon after, though, the Heed were level when a left-wing cross was deftly volleyed in by Michack Kanda.
Almost immediately, Shields re-took the lead when the fantastic Foley scored a goal of real quality.
After picking the ball up on the right flank, he drove inside with the ball, beating several men before firing into the top corner.
It was a deserved goal for Foley, who was a constant thorn in the visitors’ side.
At the other end, Leepaul Scroggins did well to block an effort by Jack Elliott, but Gateshead equalised for a second time on 38 minutes when Craig Baxter’s cross was nodded in by Kanda.
Both sides went close to going in front before half-time, with Michael Turner having an effort cleared off the line before a Phillips free-kick at the other end was spilled by Gareth Young to McCarthy, who somehow missed the ball in front of goal.
In the second half, Shields were tighter at the back, and they had a number of decent opportunities before taking the lead for a third time on 65 minutes.
Foley and Robert Briggs linked up well on the right, and a cross from the latter took two deflections before being forced in by Teasdale at the back post.
With Ibby Hassan and Daryll Hall dominant at the back the longer the game went on, the Mariners rarely looked like being breached again.
McCarthy had a shot blocked in stoppage time, but that was as close to forcing extra-time as Gateshead got as Shields claimed a superb victory.
They will hope to follow it up on Saturday when they host Whickham in the league.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Smith, Turner (Grey 73), Hall, Hassan, Briggs, Foley, Scroggins (c), Ramsey (Sakr 82), Teasdale, Phillips. Subs not used: Pocklington, Byrne, Riding.
Goals: McCarthy (own goal, 22), Foley (31), Teasdale (65).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
South Shields will hope to progress to the last four of the Durham Challenge Cup on Wednesday when they host National League side Gateshead.
The quarter-final tie is to kick-off at 7.30pm at Mariners Park, with Shields looking for a strong response from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Billingham Synthonia in Ebac Northern League Division Two.
The Mariners reached the final eight with a 1-0 win at Consett last Tuesday, which sandwiched league losses at Synthonia and Ryhope CW.
And captain Leepaul Scroggins has backed Shields to bounce back against the Heed.
He said: “This is a tough game for us, but it’s great to be taking on Gateshead and we’re really looking forward to it.
“We responded well to the Ryhope defeat last week by beating Consett, so we’ll expect the same against Gateshead.
“We don’t know what sort of team Gateshead will send out, but it would be good to beat them.
“It’s a quarter-final, and we want to win every competition we play in, so we have to see the gamer as a big opportunity.”
Shields goalkeeper Gareth Young, meanwhile, who has fought his way back into the side over the last two games, is hoping the crowd will play its part at Mariners Park as they play their first home game since December 19.
He said: “There’s no reason we can’t beat Gateshead with the crowd behind us.
“We believe we can go on a good run in the cups, and that’s what we want to be doing. We want to be fighting on all fronts.
“Gateshead are a Conference side with professional players, so this match should show us what standard we’re at.
“We’ve played against a few Northern League Division One sides this season, and have looked the better team every time, so it will be good to test ourselves again.”
Shields remain in the League Cup and Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup, as well as the Durham Challenge Cup, while they are six points clear at the top of Northern League Division Two.
Assistant manager Gary Middleton added: “In the league, we’ve lost two in a row now after winning 20 in a row before that in all competitions.
“We need to get those defeats out of our systems quickly and go on another good run again.
“They’re all big games. We see every cup competition as an opportunity to win something, so we’re all hoping we can get the win to put us into the last four.”
Shields will be without the injured Lewis Galpin for the 7.30pm kick-off at Mariners Park.
Admission is to be paid for at the gate, costing £5 for adults, £3 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
Due to circumstances beyond South Shields FC’s control, the scheduled game against Gateshead in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday has been put back 24 hours to Wednesday.
This is as a result of a directive from Durham FA that as Gateshead have National League commitments and are unable to staff the tie, we must acquiesce to the request.
The club would like to apologise to all of our supporters for this late change, but look forward to finally bringing football back to Mariners Park for the first time in 2016.