Late show as SSFC Ladies make cup progress
South Shields left it late against Chester-le-Street United as the Mariners ran out 3-2 winners in the second qualifying round of the Women’s FA Cup.
For the third consecutive Sunday, the Mariners were involved in a 3-2 scoreline but they were on the right end of it this time thanks to two goals in the final nine minutes.
Isla Maggs had given Scott Curtis’ side an early lead but they looked like they were heading out of the competition when the visitors turned things around to go 2-1 ahead at Harton Welfare.
Late strikes from Caitlin Bates and Natalie May clinched the tie for Shields, though, as they edged out their plucky opponents.
The Mariners had enjoyed an impressive opening to the game, having created their first chance with less than a minute on the clock. Bates tried her luck from the edge of the area but the goalkeeper made a comfortable save.
A golden opportunity to open the scoring followed soon after as Eve Gatens did brilliantly to put Becki McMahon through on goal, and she forced a double save from the goalkeeper.
Shields found the goal they had been threatening in the 11th minute when a ball across the box by Bates caused confusion and Maggs was in the right place to tap home.
However, Chester-le-Street hit back immediately. A whipped cross sneaked into the far post, just as it looked to be heading wide.
The home side looked for a swift response as McMahon found herself through on goal again. The goalkeeper made a fantastic save, before Bates’ effort was cleared off the line.
It was Chester-le-Street who took the lead soon afterwards. In similar fashion to the first goal, another cross found its way into the far post.
The Mariners almost pulled the game level as Bates played the ball back to Maggs inside the area, but her strike was just wide.
Chester-le-Street nearly doubled their lead midway through the second half. Scarlett Gowans produced a parried save but breathed a sigh of relief when the rebound was lobbed over the bar.
Gatens then had a great chance to level the scores for Shields. Bates floated in a great corner, but the goalkeeper somehow kept Gatens’ effort out from point-blank range.
The Mariners found the equaliser shortly afterwards as a great run and pass from McMahon found Bates in the area, and she turned and fired a low left-footed strike into the bottom corner.
In the dying embers of the game, Shields found a winner. After Gatens’ effort was stopped on the line, the ball sat up kindly for May, who volleyed from the edge of the area and found the top corner.
After the game, match-winner May said: “It’s a really nice feeling.
“Scott has been telling me to get forward and shoot more often, so to see that go in was great.
“We weren’t at our best but we dug in and got the result in the end, so we need to build on this.
“The important thing is that we are through to the next round.”