Ramsey and Smith earn praise

By Daniel Prince

Experienced pair Stephen Ramsey and Barrie Smith have been lauded by South Shields assistant manager Lee Bell after Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Northallerton Town.

Ramsey and Smith were both among the goals as the 10-man Mariners made it six wins in a row by seeing off Northallerton.

Bell has been impressed with the performances of Ramsey throughout the season, and was delighted to see him get on the scoresheet on Tuesday.

He made it 3-3 with a fine header from a Smith free-kick, and afterwards Bell paid tribute to a player he describes as the “unsung hero” of the team.

He said: “Ramma is like the unsung hero of the team.

“A lot of people might criticise what he does sometimes, but Ramma, not only is he difficult to play against, but he’s a game maker.

“He creates space, has good one-touch play, brings the ball down really well, has got wonderful control and never panics.

“To see him get on the scoresheet was brilliant for him, because he is sometimes frustrated that he doesn’t get enough goals.”

Bell and manager Jon King have been trying to impose a particular philosophy at Shields this season, and their efforts are paying dividends.

Bell feels the philosophy of “slowing the game down to speed it up” is best emphasised by the play of Smith, who had an outstanding game against Northallerton.

The assistant manager added: “Since the beginning of the season, the fans have given us nothing but praise for the way we’re trying to play.

“What we do in training and the warm-ups is all about team work, team ethic, and slowing the game down to speed it up.

“A lot of people don’t understand that when I say, ‘Slow it down to speed it up’, but the lads proved against Northallerton why we do that.

“When you slow a game down, it creates space.

“Barrie Smith proved exactly that point on Tuesday, and I pick Barrie out specifically because I thought he was absolutely fantastic.

“They did nothing but try to kick his legs, rip him down, and I think he literally in one single person summed up what the team has. It’s desire, and it’s brilliant.”

Smith also netted Shields’ first goal of the night with a fine individual strike.

He picked the ball up on the halfway line before dribbling it forward, beating his defenders and rifling the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Bell described the goal as a “once a season” effort, but was thrilled to see the captain find the net.

He continued: “Baz is one of those players who will hit nine of them in a game, and put them out of the stadium every time.

“For Baz to hit one and for it to go in, is a good moment for him.

“He gets himself very frustrated sometimes and annoyed that he doesn’t feel he contributes enough. From the sideline, though, we can see clearly he does.

“For him to score that, it might be a once in a season thing, because I’m not too sure he’ll do many of them this season!”