Project 4,000: Get behind Under-18s in big Youth Cup clash!

Project 4,000: Get behind Under-18s in big Youth Cup clash!

South Shields’ Under-18s take on Stockton Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup on Friday.

The match will kick-off at 7.30pm and culminates an action-packed week at 1st Cloud Arena which has already included two important victories for the first-team.

Should a crowd of 256 or more attend Friday’s fixture, the cumulative attendance across the three games held this week will pass through the 4,000 mark in another show of incredible support for the club.

Fans turned out in impressive numbers for the FA Youth Cup first qualifying round tie against Pickering Town, with 319 supporters cheering Wess Brown’s side to a 5-1 victory as they overcame a first half deficit.

Academy manager Brown is certain that a similar-sized crowd would inspire the players as they seek to move a step closer to the holy grail of the first round, a stage Shields have reached twice since the inception of the Academy in the summer of 2017.

Brown said: “It would be great to see a big crowd again because that always gives the lads a lift.

“Now the fans know the names of the players it would be nice to hear them come up with some songs for them.

“The lads had big smiles on their faces after the Pickering game, primarily because of the experience they had playing in front of the crowd.

“The first-team crowds are rising and it would be great to see the fans turn up in their numbers again to support players they will hopefully see plenty more of in the future.”

With admission prices costing just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, Friday is another tremendous opportunity for supporters to catch a glimpse of the next generation of Mariners starlets.

The current crop will be looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Will Jenkins, Sam Hodgson, Blair Rossiter, Joao Gomes, Dom Agnew, Aaron Steavens and Harvey Neary, who have all been heavily involved with first-team responsibilities this season having progressed through the Academy set-up at the club.

They will also be aiming to emulate the achievements of their Academy predecessors in the Youth Cup, with the Mariners having reached the second round in 2018-19 and the third round a year later, when they came up against Fulham.

The competition provides a huge opportunity for the youngsters to demonstrate their abilities, and Brown has summed up the excitement in the camp heading into the meeting with Stockton, who beat Workington 1-0 in the previous round.

Brown added: “As usual, the lads are super-excited about the game.

“The Youth Cup matches are always the pinnacle of the season and they come nice and early, so it’s a great chance for the players to make their mark.

“We’re expecting a good game because Stockton try to play.

“I went to watch them in their last game and as well as trying to play good football, they look quite solid at the back.

“We’ll be trying to play the South Shields way as always and hopefully continue from where we left off in the second half against Pickering.

“Now the lads have had a flavour of playing at 1st Cloud Arena in front of a good crowd on a fast pitch, they’ll hopefully have a better start and won’t have as many nerves.”

The turnstiles will open at 6pm on Friday. Please support Project 4000 and let’s give the lads our support!