Academy continue preparations for new season with comeback win
New members of the SSFC Academy set-up got their first taste of action in a South Shields shirt on Friday as the young Mariners came from 2-0 down to claim an impressive 4-2 win.
A squad featuring 15 players brought in during the summer defeated Bishop Burton College, from near Hull, at Silksworth Sports Complex.
They got off to the worst possible start, falling two goals behind early on before launching a comeback.
Junior Marcelino pulled one back and Sam Hodgson equalised from the penalty spot before the 20-minute mark.
Shields then excelled in the second half, and secured a deserved victory in the friendly thanks to a good finish from Tom Green and another Hodgson penalty.
All but five of the squad were first-year students, and their performance pleased joint manager Lee Picton.
He said: “This was the first time most of these lads have played together, and the first 20 to 25 minutes were difficult.
“There was a combination of unfamiliarity and a bit of nervousness, and we just weren’t doing the basics well enough.
“Once we got ourselves sorted out, particularly in the second half, it was a lot better.
“We focused a lot better on shifting the ball quickly and simply, and took complete control of the game to run out deserving winners in the end.
“We also had the game filmed, which will be massively beneficial to us, and we will use it as an opportunity to give all the players – who are predominately first-years – their first taste of a video analysis session on their own performance.”
The club’s academy players are set to taste their first competitive action of the season on Tuesday when they begin their FA Youth Cup bid.
The Under-18s from the SSFC Academy set-up are away to Stockton Town in the preliminary round of the prestigious competition.
The winners will face Spennymoor Town in the first qualifying round – the team which knocked the young Mariners out of the Youth Cup last season.
Tuesday’s match will be played at the Coverall Stadium in Bishopton Road West, which has a post code of TS19 0QD.
Several Shields players with first-team experience will be available for the 7pm kick-off, including Ethan Biwer, Jordan Patterson, Ollie Scott, Michael Colquhoun, Bailey Judson and Dom Minchella.
SSFC Academy teams will compete in the National League Under-19 Alliance and the ECFA Category One Premier League this season, with games in both leagues to take place on Wednesday afternoons.
Details of upcoming fixtures will be announced in due course.
Admission prices for Tuesday’s game at Stockton are £2 for adults, £1 for over-65s and £1 for children, although children are free if accompanied by a paying adult.
SSFC Academy team to face Bishop Burton: Elliot Stephenson, Lewis Black, Joe Lockey, Steve Black, Ben Errington, Matty Wade, Will Morris, Jake Dunn, Sam Hodgson, Jamie Pretti, Junior Marcelino. Subs: Cameron Armstrong, Ollie Scott, Bailey Judson, Will Jenkins, Tom Green, Emerade Yembe.