South Shields FC can confirm that Andrew Stephenson has left the club by mutual consent.

After Andrew recently started a new job, his work schedule meant that he could not commit fully towards his football duties at Mariners Park.

We’d like to thank him for his tremendous efforts over the last 15 months and wish him all the best for the future.

He leaves the club with a record of 50 appearances and 11 goals, as well as four trophy wins.

Andrew will always be welcome back at Mariners Park.

A superb hat-trick from Andrew Stephenson sealed holders South Shields’ place in the quarter-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup as they beat Sunderland RCA 3-2 on Tuesday.

Stephenson struck three times in the first half to see off the spirited Northern League outfit at Mariners Park.

Shields were made to work for their victory, but looked like they might be on for a comfortable night early on when Stephenson gave them the lead in the fourth minute.

He was found by a great through ball by Matty Pattison before rounding goalkeeper Neal Bussey and finishing well.

Within a minute, though, RCA were level when Colin Larkin pounced on a loose backpass and forced the ball past Jack Norton.

The entertaining start continued when Stephenson restored the home side’s lead in the 10th minute, controlling a cross from Anthony Callaghan before beating Bussey with a finish into the bottom corner.

Norton did well to push an effort from Nathan O’Neill wide soon after, while at the other end, the Mariners came close on two occasions before Stephenson completed his hat-trick.

This one was the pick of the bunch as the ball bounced up for him 25 yards out on the right and he beat Bussey with a stunning effort.

RCA continued to threaten, and Norton did well to push a powerful effort from Luke Page wide late in the first half.

The second half was hard-fought, and Shields went close when a Callaghan cross hit the crossbar and Pattison fizzed an effort just wide.

Alex Nicholson was another to go close twice, before the visitors pulled a goal back when Page forced a low effort past substitute goalkeeper Liam Connell.

The Mariners could have made it more comfortable in the closing stages, but Graeme Armstrong was denied from close range by Bussey after being played in on goal.

Shields – who won the Durham Challenge Cup last season – now await the draw for the quarter-finals.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Norton (Connell 46), Nicholson, Callaghan (Holmes 76), Baxter (c), Morse, Lough, Smith, Storey, Armstrong (Briggs 65), Pattison, Stephenson. Subs not used: Richardson, Finnigan.

Goals: Stephenson (4, 10, 34).

Attendance: 608.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.

South Shields came through a pulsating extra-time period as they got the better of Farsley Celtic in a thrilling Buildbase FA Trophy tie on Tuesday.

On a dramatic night at Mariners Park, five goals were scored in extra-time, but Robert Briggs’ strike three minutes from the end was ultimately enough to steer Shields into the second qualifying round with a 4-3 win.

Twice Farsley had battled back from the brink of defeat, scoring two minutes into second half stoppage time to force the tie to extra-time, and then netting twice in the space of a minute in the second half of extra-time to level things up after falling 3-1 behind.

Briggs ultimately finished the Yorkshire side off with his second goal of the night to seal Shields’ place in the second qualifying round, where they face a trip to Stafford Rangers on Saturday, November 11.

Shields almost went out of the competition in the original tie against Farsley on Saturday, with Carl Finnigan scoring a stoppage time penalty to secure a replay.

The Mariners picked up where they left off on Tuesday, opening the scoring in the third minute.

Some neat football on the right led to Matty Pattison getting in behind, and his dinked cross was expertly headed down by Gavin Cogdon and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Graeme McKibbin.

It was exactly the sort of start the Mariners needed to get another four-figure crowd right behind them, and they penned their opponents back in the period which followed.

Cogdon in particular was a constant threat to the Farsley back-line, who were struggling to handle him.

His next effort saw him beat his man before bringing the ball forward and whistling a shot just over the bar from 25 yards.

The striker went close again after another good move from the Mariners on the right, with Alex Nicholson sliding in an inviting low cross, only for Cogdon to see his goalbound effort blocked.

The hosts were knocking at the door in search of goal number two, but it was to prove elusive.

Finnigan just failed to get clean contact on a delicious delivery by Nicholson, while Briggs sent a volley over after a whipped cross from Anthony Callaghan.

EVO-STIK Premier Division high-flyers Farsley posed a threat, and reminded Shields of that when Liam Connell was forced into a smart stop, pushing a James Pollard free-kick around the post.

Another foray forward from the visitors led to a powerful low effort which Julio Arca did well to block, but it was mainly Shields doing the attacking, with McKibbin keeping out attempts from Pattison and Briggs.

Farsley came out for the second half with added impetus, and within seconds of the restart almost got back on level terms when substitute Adam Porritt – brought on at half-time – volleyed not far past the post.

They away team continued to grow in confidence, and went closer to equalising when Connell made an impressive low save from Isaac Baldwin, before the rebound was sent well over the bar.

There were opportunities at both ends, with Pattison for Shields and Chris Atkinson for Farsley hitting efforts just wide.

The visitors committed more men forward in the closing stages as they tried to get back on level terms. Dillon Morse blocked well from James Walshaw, Porritt fired wide from 20 yards and then Walshaw headed a presentable opportunity wide after getting on the end of a delivery from deep.

After coming through that period, Shields could have wrapped it up when substitute Andrew Stephenson played a perfectly-weighted pass through to Briggs, but McKibbin produced a tremendous low save to tip the ball wide.

Farsley were rewarded for their second half endeavours two minutes into stoppage time as Ryan Watson collected the ball 25 yards out and arrowed an effort past Connell and into the corner.

Having been so close to booking their place in the next round, Shields had it all to do again.

Their job was made a huge lot easier two minutes into the first half of extra-time when Cogdon dummied and allowed the ball to run through for Briggs, who flicked it past his defender before curling a superb effort into the bottom corner.

Farsley became increasingly frustrated after falling 2-1 behind, and it was not until the second half of extra-time that they started to show their threat going forward again.

Adam Clayton headed just over from a deep free-kick, while Walshaw hit one just past the post after pouncing on a loose ball.

Shields were on the look-out for a breakaway goal, and after twice going close through Pattison and Stephenson – with the latter seeing a goalbound effort hacked clear – they did get their third of the night.

Stephenson received the ball in space 25 yards out and drove further into it before burying the ball beyond the reach of McKibbin.

At 3-1 up with just 10 minutes to play, the Mariners appeared to be just about there. However, there was to be a nasty sting in the tail.

Farsley pulled one back when Baldwin’s cross from the left was met by the head of captain Danny Ellis, who guided it into the far corner.

Just 17 seconds after the restart, Farsley were incredibly back on level terms as Luke Parkin tried his luck from 25 yards and managed to hammer a low effort beyond Connell to stun Mariners Park.

The goal provided another big test of Shields’ character, but they undoubtedly passed it.

With penalties looming, Pattison got in behind on the inside-right of the box and hit a shot which McKibbin parried. The ball broke the way of Briggs, who did not get clean contact on it, but did enough to beat the despairing defenders in front of him as it crept over the line.

This time, there was to be no way back for Farsley, who tried to exert some late pressure but were unable to do so.

Shields had got over the line, and won one of the most entertaining games played at Mariners Park since the club’s return from Peterlee over two years ago.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Nicholson, Callaghan, Lough, Morse, Arca (c), Smith (Stephenson 74), Briggs, Cogdon (Sullivan 105), Pattison, Finnigan (Storey 74). Subs not used: Norton, Baxter.

Goals: Cogdon (3), Briggs (92, 117), Stephenson (110).

Attendance: 1,012.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.