Goalkeepers took centre stage as SSFC Academy secured a dramatic double win on a packed day of action on Wednesday.
The young Mariners thrashed Frickley Athletic 7-1 in the National League Under-19 Alliance to move up to third in the table, with goalkeeper Jacob Bramley among the goalscorers. There was also a hat-trick for Max Cowburn while Callum Guy netted twice and Tom Green scored the other.
The club’s academy squad was split in two for the afternoon, with the rest of the players taking on Ralph Thoresby School in the ECFA National play-offs.
Will McCamley gave Shields a 1-0 lead late in the match but the young Mariners were pegged back late on.
Extra-time yielded no further goals but Shields went on to win a dramatic penalty shoot-out, with goalkeeper Aaron Steavens shining as he made three saves from the spot to seal a 5-4 victory as he helped his side into the national quarter-finals.
Head of youth performance and development Jamie Williams said: “The first half was very scrappy, with not a great deal of chances for either side, and the second half was similar until Will McCamley scored after a fine through ball from Michael Colquhoun 12 minutes from the end.
“We tried to see the game out but gave away a free-kick with three minutes to go and they scored directly from it.
“They had the more clear-cut chances in extra-time but it went to penalties and Aaron pulled off some great saves to help us over the line.”
The young Mariners qualified for the ECFA National play-offs by finishing as runners-up to Monkseaton High School in their group.
They thought they had won the group after beating Tyne Met College a fortnight ago, having finished on the same number of points as Monkseaton at the top and with a better goal difference.
Both sides were initially unaware, though, that when teams in the ECFA League finish level on points, it is decided initially on head-to-head record, meaning Monkseaton pipped Shields to first place. Both sides qualified for the play-offs and both are now into the quarter-finals.
SSFC Academy team against Ralph Thoresby School: Steavens, Yembe, Lockey, Carney, Patterson, Onarbay, S Black, Dunn, Colquhoun, Duncan, McCamley. Subs: Croft, Scott.
Williams and Lee Picton took charge of the academy’s game at Ralph Thoresby, with Graham Fenton and Wess Brown overseeing the win over Frickley.
Cowburn and Guy scored five goals between them as Shields established a 5-0 lead, with Green making it six.
Frickley pulled one goal back before Shields were forced to push Bramley up-front after an injury to Arron Thompson, with no more outfield substitutes available.
Bramley delighted all those of a claret and blue persuasion by scoring – with Fenton declaring it was the ‘kind of moment you’re in football for’.
Fenton said: “It was a really strong performance from the lads.
“We generally moved the ball very well and scored some decent goals, while also missing some good opportunities as well.
“We need to work on our game management a bit, but that’s understandable when they’re at this age.
“We were looking for more goals at 5-0 up which was fine, but we didn’t keep the back door shut well enough.
“It should be a really good learning curve for the lads into how to see a game out properly in terms of controlling it.
“There were lots of good performances from the likes of Arron Thompson, Callum Guy, Michael Colquhoun and Tom Green, who made a really positive impact from the bench.
“To top it all off, Jacob Bramley scored the seventh goal and the lads were buzzing for him.
“It was one of those moments that you’re involved in football for.
“He scored with his first chance and could have scored another.
“The video analysis work we did earlier in the week clearly rubbed off on Jacob because he looked like Romelu Lukaku with his movement!”
SSFC Academy team against Frickley Athletic: Bramley, Morris, Allen, Thompson, Errington, Bexton, Junior, Biwer, Cowburn, Guy, Allasan. Subs: Armstrong, L Black, Green.
Keen children are being given more opportunities than ever before to get involved in our exciting activity programmes led by SSFC Foundation.
As we move into the spring term, some of the Foundation’s weekly activities have been shuffled around and exciting new ones have also been introduced.
Each activity will be led by the Foundation’s qualified coaching wizards, who will deliver age appropriate games focusing on fun and enjoyment.
There has never been a better time for your child to get involved.
Here is our new activity timetable. Please get in touch by emailing email@example.com for more information.
THINKERS & MOVERS (from March 12) – BOOKING REQUIRED
For parents with toddlers aged between 18 months and three years, the sessions will take place on Tuesdays between 3.15pm and 4pm, with a £4 booking required.
For those in reception and nursery (aged three to five), the sessions are on Tuesdays from 5pm to 6pm, with a £4 booking.
Please book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
LET’S PLAY THURSDAY
This games-based activity session is aimed at children in school years three, four and five, and is delivered by first-team player Blair Adams and Foundation coaching wizard Zak Turner-Cooke.
It takes place between 4pm and 5pm on Thursdays on the 3G pitch at Mariners Park.
No booking is required for this session – it’s a £3 fee on a turn up and play basis.
Our bespoke fun and football programme for girls aged between five and 12 continues to go from strength to strength.
It takes place every Friday between 5pm and 6pm on the 3G pitch at Mariners Park.
These sessions are ideal for girls who have a keen interest in football and ejoyment.
Again, no booking is required. A £3 fee is charged on a turn up and play basis.
FUTURES ACADEMY – BOOKING REQUIRED
Year 6 and Year 7 children who would like to trial for a place in the club’s Futures Academy programme at Mortimer Community College are encouraged to attend these sessions.
They take place on the 3G pitch at Mariners Park between 6pm and 7.30pm every Friday.
Booking is required for these sessions. Please contact email@example.com for details.
FUTSAL FRIDAY (from March 8) – BOOKING REQUIRED
Futsal continues to grow in popularity and to recognise its importance, we are introducing a specialist programme for children in Year 4, 5 and 6.
Sessions will take place on Fridays between 6.30pm and 7.30pm at Temple Park Centre in South Shields.
Limited spaces are available on this programme so booking is required, at a cost of £4 a session.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
SUPER SATURDAY (from March 9)
Our Saturday games-based development session for children in Year 1 and 2 who are looking to join teams is returning.
This replaces the existing Sunday session which has taken place at Mariners Park over recent months.
Super Saturday will take place on the 3G pitch at the Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare every Saturday between 12pm and 1pm.
No booking is required – this is a £3 turn up and play session.
For further details of Foundation programmes, please contact email@example.com