South Shields U18s 3-1 Gateshead U18s: Young Mariners progress in Youth Cup
South Shields deservedly progressed to the final qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup on Monday with a come from behind win over Gateshead at Mariners Park.
Shields were unfortunate to go in at half-time a goal down and responded superbly after the break to win the second qualifying round tie 3-1.
Ethan Biwer, Bailey Judson and Michael Colquhoun scored the all-important goals as Gateshead became the young Mariners’ third victims in this season’s competition, after Stockton Town and Spennymoor Town.
Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side were bright and energetic throughout, but Gateshead challenged them with a high-energy game of their own, particularly in the early stages.
They struggled to cope with the talent of Judson on Shields’ left, though, and he was at the centre of much of the hosts’ attacking play.
The Mariners’ first effort was a shot from distance from Callum Carney which was comfortably saved, and Judson was also denied by goalkeeper Jak Wright as the home side searched for the breakthrough.
Gateshead went close to opening the scoring on 27 minutes when a corner from the right by Harvey Dickson was headed narrowly wide by James Cooper.
The visitors did take the lead soon after when a ball over the top took an awkward bounce and presented Jack McNally with a great opportunity. He made no mistake as he fired into an empty net.
Shields’ response was superb and they had several chances to equalise before half-time.
Will McCamley headed a presentable opportunity wide from a Carney cross, while Colquhoun almost got fortunate when a defensive clearance cannoned against him before bouncing past the post.
Judson was next to go close as he drove through midfield, skipping past two challenges before firing an effort just over from range.
Another chance came and went when Sam Hodgson’s header from a Judson cross was saved by Wright, and the Shields forward turned a further effort wide as the hosts continued to be frustrated.
On the stroke of the break, Biwer’s shot from the edge of the area was kept out impressively by Wright and the half-time whistle will have been a relief for Gateshead as they were given an opportunity to regroup.
Shields did not let up in the second half, though.
They came out of the blocks brilliantly well and almost equalised when Biwer fizzed a ball across the box which Colquhoun just could not stretch enough to turn home.
The young Mariners finally got their reward just before the hour mark when captain Biwer’s effort from the edge of the box took a deflection before nestling in the centre of the net.
McCamley went close to putting the hosts ahead when he cut inside from the right before firing over, before Shields were handed a golden opportunity when Hodgson was fouled in the area and the referee pointed to the spot.
Judson took the responsibility and rolled the ball home to give the home side the lead for the first time.
The Mariners were brimming with confidence now and only an acrobatic save by Wright kept the score at 2-1 as he tipped a Jordan Patterson volley over the bar.
Wright injured himself in the process and had to be replaced. After a long delay, the resulting corner was diverted goalwards and bounced narrowly over the crossbar.
Shields did double their advantage with 14 minutes left when Judson forced the ball through to Colquhoun, whose shot was too hot to handle for substitute goalkeeper Alex Doxford before finding the corner of the net.
Judson almost added his second of the night soon after, but his effort was superbly cleared off the line.
The Mariners continued their impressive play as a terrific free-kick from the right by Josh Elcoate was flicked on by Adam Onarbay and just cleared the crossbar.
One final chance came and went in stoppage time when substitute Dom Minchella curled in a superb cross from the right which was deflected against the bar by a defender.
Shields now eagerly await the draw for the third qualifying round.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Bramley, Yembe, Lockey, Carney (Elcoate 53), Patterson, Onarbay, McCamley (Minchella 83), Biwer (c), Colquhoun, S Hodgson (Ames 83), Judson. Subs not used: E Hodgson, Croft.
Goals: Biwer (59), Judson (pen 66), Colquhoun (76).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.