Seaham 2-3 South Shields
By Daniel Prince
South Shields secured their first win of pre-season as late goals from Stephen Ramsey and Gilberto Chapim sealed a 3-2 victory at Seaham Red Star on Thursday.
The Mariners looked headed for defeat when Aris Lokonga Guerin’s first half penalty was cancelled out just before the break, and Seaham went ahead 11 minutes before the end.
However, Jon King’s side came on strong late in the game, and earned a welcome triumph with the two late strikes.
Once again, a host of changes were made to the starting XI for the game, with Kenny Ball and Jonny Wightman the only players to keep their place in the team from Tuesday’s draw with a Spennymoor Town XI.
It was a tough test of Shields’ credentials, with Seaham looking ahead to a season in Ebac Northern League Division One after winning Division Two last season.
The first opportunity at Seaham Town Park fell to the Mariners as Phil Gray advanced down the left-hand side. He played the ball inside to Lee McMahon, whose shot was blocked by a defender, as was the follow-up by David Foley.
There was little more of note in front of goal until Shields were awarded a penalty when Foley’s left-wing corner was aimed at Wayne Buchanan, who was pushed over in the box.
Guerin stepped up to take it, and the striker nonchalantly chipped the ball down the centre of the goal as he watched goalkeeper Shaun Newbrook dive to one side.
Shields were the better of the two sides at that stage, and they continued to try and press ahead their advantage, with McMahon having a shot saved by Newbrook.
Former Mariners forward Craig Roberts had been introduced by then by Seaham, and he was to prove a lively presence during his time on the pitch.
His first major contribution was to rob Shields of possession deep in their own half, before firing a shot which just cleared the crossbar.
The Mariners looked set to go in at the break a goal ahead, but they again lost the ball on the edge of the box two minutes into stoppage time, and Lee Kerr punished them by picking his spot and sending a shot into the bottom corner.
The second half saw both sides create good goalscoring opportunities, with the first of those falling to Shields as Foley did superbly to beat his man on the inside-right of the box, but his effort lacked the power to beat Newbrook.
At the other end, the ball was played across to the inside-left of the box, and Robbie Bird looked set to score, but his shot was straight at visiting goalkeeper Gareth Young.
Bird had another glorious opportunity in the 63rd minute as a superb right-wing cross found him at the back post, but his header back across goal went past the post.
At the other end, Guerin powered a shot which was parried by Newbrook, while Shields made a number of substitutions as more players were given a chance to shine.
However, the game looked to have got away from them when they again lost the ball deep in their own half, and this time it was fired in off the post from the edge of the box.
Substitute Adam Curry was enjoying an impressive cameo at left-back for Shields, though, and he almost brought them back on level terms when he did superbly to carry the ball into the box before his shot across the face of goal was held by Newbrook.
The Mariners did not have to wait too long to get their leveller, as two substitutes combined on 83 minutes.
Joe Melvin broke free of his man on the inside-left of the box, and his ball across the box fell perfectly for Ramsey, who was in the right place to finish off the move and grab his second goal in as many games.
From then on, there only looked like being one winner, and immediately from the restart, Shields had a great chance to go ahead again. Newbrook committed himself to a ball over the top and was unable to retrieve it, but when Melvin got his head to the resulting cross, his effort was blocked by a defender.
Shields did get their winner, though, as substitute Josh Holland was played in on the right. He dribbled the ball into the box and eventually powered a low shot which Newbrook could only parry to Chapim, who struck the ball home from close range.
Chapim did not get on the scoresheet in his first spell at the club, and will hope this goal was a sign of things to come in the season ahead.
There was very little time left on the clock when play restarted, and indeed, the referee soon blew his whistle as the Mariners secured their first win of pre-season.
They will hope to make it two in two on Saturday when they travel to face Boldon CA in the Sam Bartram Memorial Cup. Kick-off is at 2pm.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Locke (c) (Nicholson 65), Gray (Curry 69), Buchanan, Galpin, Ball (Smith 61), Foley (Chapim 58), McMahon (Ramsey 61), Guerin (Melvin 80), Wightman (Holland 74), Phillips.
Goals: Guerin (pen 26), Ramsey (83), Chapim (89).