Stokesley SC 1-4 South Shields
By Philip Reay. Match sponsored by: Shaun Matthias Ltd.
Bolam, a member of Shields’ successful Under-18 side, came on with around 25 minutes to go, and the 16-year-old capped a good debut performance with a goal to become the youngest goalscorer for the club in the modern era.
Shields started the game on the front foot as Adam Sharp disposed a Stokesley defender before playing the ball into the path of Paul Kane, but his shot was comfortably saved by Daniel Bowman.
Stokesley responded instantly through Callum Revely, who picked the ball up in the centre of the park and brushed aside the challenges of Shields defenders before driving the ball towards goal, only to be denied by a good save by goalkeeper Steven Hubery.
The hosts maintained the pressure on the Shields defence as David Edwards was awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
Edwards placed the ball and fired his shot into the defensive wall, before reacting quickest to pick the ball up and send another shot at goal that was cleared by Steven Graham.
Shields began to exert pressure on the home defence as David Molloy dispossessed Mathew Crossen. He raced away from his marker before sending a shot at goal that was blocked by Kristian Kamara, and the danger was cleared.
With the game approaching the quarter-hour mark, Chris Feasey broke down the left flank before playing the ball into the feet of Molloy, who controlled the ball before firing a shot on the turn that was well saved by Bowman.
Shields were dominating possession as they pinned the home side deep in their own half.
Kane collected the ball wide on the left flank and played the ball into the path of Stephen Ramsey, and he in turn found Sharp. He turned his man before sending Kane clear, and he rifled the ball at goal from the angle of the box, only to be denied by a superb diving save by Bowman.
Against the run of play, Stokesley went a goal up. From a free-kick on the left, Wilfred Dinsdale found Gerard Richardson in space, and he headed in from close range.
Shields responded well to the set back and pressed forward from the restart, but Kane saw his progress halted by Ryan Grier on the edge of the ‘D’. Graham fired the ball towards goal, but Clark Reeder was on hand to head the ball clear.
The Mariners continued to pressurise the Stokesley defence, and were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Feasey fired the ball into the box, but Jake Marron headed the ball behind for a corner; from which Talbot found Ramsey, but the striker fired wide of the post.
Shields were eventually rewarded for their pressure on 34 minutes when Molloy played the ball into the path of 19-year-old Talbot, and he curled a superb shot into the top corner of the goal.
Despite controlling the game, the visitors were unable to add to their tally.
They came close in the final minute of the half as Kane and Molloy combined on the left before Molloy fired the ball towards Ramsey, but Bowman managed to tip the ball off the head of the Shields striker.
The Mariners started the second half on the front foot. Craig Roberts picked the ball up on the right flank and released Sharp, who turned away from his marker before playing the ball to Molloy on the edge of the box, but his shot stuck the base of the post before being hacked clear.
The Stokesley defence were holding firm in the face of constant pressure from the Shields side, and with the hour mark approaching Molloy ran onto a long ball, but his shot was well saved by Bowman.
A minute later, Ramsey broke clear, but his shot was turned round the post for a corner. Talbot played the resulting corner towards Graham, but his shot flew wide of the post.
On 67 minutes, Bolam replaced Ramsey to come on for his debut.
Shields were dominating possession, but were finding it difficult to create clear scoring opportunities.
With 15 minutes remaining, Roberts won the ball on the right and sent Kane clear, but again the striker was unable to trouble the home keeper.
With seven minutes left, Shields eventually broke the home side’s resistance.
Roberts and Molloy combined to release Talbot, and he made no mistake as he doubled his and Shields’ tally.
From the restart, the Mariners again broke forward, and good interplay between Molloy and Bolam ended as Bolam fired in from an acute angle to double the Shields advantage.
In the final minute, Talbot completed the scoring as he fired in to complete his hat-trick and give Shields a 4-1 victory ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Ryton and Crawcrook Albion.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Hubery, Roberts, Feasey, Locke, Burn, Graham, Talbot, Sharp (Stephenson 74), Ramsey (Bolam 67), Molloy, Kane. Sub not used: Salim.
Goals: Talbot (34, 83, 89), Bolam (84).