South Shields booked their place in the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup as they claimed an entertaining 3-1 win over Bridlington Town in front of the BBC cameras on Saturday.
Shields were pegged back early in the second half after Luke Sullivan had handed them the lead before half-time, and went on to claim victory thanks to a superb strike from Matty Pattison and late tap-in by Gavin Cogdon.
The crowd of over 1,400 at Mariners Park – and many more around the world watching live on BBC Sport’s online stream – were kept interested from the first minute to the last as Bridlington battled well, but Shields ultimately did enough to secure their passage into the next round.
They will find out their first qualifying round opponents when the draw is made on Monday.
Shields started Saturday’s game well, and almost took the lead inside three minutes when a curled free-kick from the right by Pattison just evaded a touch, and went not far wide.
A number of half-chances came and went for the Mariners before goalkeeper Liam Connell was called into action to make an impressive save from Ethan Nelson, who had let fly from distance.
Shields enjoyed good possession in the first half and began to press their opponents back.
Their best chance fell to Sullivan after he was picked out by a corner from Alex Nicholson, but he could only head over the crossbar.
Bridlington were dangerous when they got into attacking areas, and after Shields failed to clear a cross from the left, Benn Lewis flashed an effort wide from the inside-right of the area.
The Mariners quickened their play up and looked much better in the remainder of the first half.
Jamie Holmes went close as he controlled a lofted ball from Craig Baxter with his chest before stinging the palms of visiting goalkeeper James Hitchcock with a shot from just outside the box.
Another good opportunity came as Michael Richardson beat his man on the left, dribbled into the area and teed up a chance for Pattison, but he saw his effort blocked.
Shields’ attacks were relentless at this stage, and they went closer again when a low cross from Jamie Holmes was deflected by a defender and kissed the outside of the post.
Some of the physical aspects of Bridlington’s play had enraged much of the home support, and a dangerous challenge from Brett Agnew on Jon Shaw resulted in a yellow card – their third booking of the half.
Just as it appeared the away team looked likely to make it to half-time on level terms, Shields made the breakthrough.
Anthony Callaghan burst away on the left and when he pulled the ball across the box, Sullivan made no mistake as he tucked it away for his first competitive goal in Mariners colours.
If supporters thought that goal may open the floodgates in the second half, though, they were to be mistaken.
Shaw headed an early chance onto the roof of the net and Hitchcock just got to a through ball before Pattison, but Bridlington were soon on level terms.
Lewis brought the ball inside from the right and his effort took a deflection off Shaw before nestling in the corner, giving Connell no chance.
Shields needed to regroup, and almost went back ahead when Pattison played a superb ball through to Holmes, but Hitchcock came out well to narrow the angle before making the save.
At the other end, Jamie Forrester curled a free-kick over before the Mariners made a double change, introducing Barrie Smith and Cogdon, who was making his first appearance after returning from holiday.
Within five minutes of the substitutions, Shields were back in front thanks to a moment of brilliance from Pattison.
Mariners supporters have seen many similar goals in the past from Julio Arca, and this was up there with the best of them.
Pattison picked the ball up 25 yards from goal, shifted it onto his favoured left foot and then whipped a tremendous effort into the top corner to delight the home support.
In the closing stages, there were a number of opportunities for Shields to wrap the victory up.
Holmes got in behind on the inside-left of the box, but was again denied by Hitchcock, while Cogdon hit a shot over and later hit the post after beating a defender.
Smith could also have put the game to bed, but blasted a shot wide after being played into a good position.
Bridlington pushed men forward in stoppage time as they searched for an equaliser which would have earned them a midweek replay on home soil.
Even goalkeeper Hitchcock went forward for one free-kick, and he stayed up-field after Shields cleared it out for a throw-in.
After almost getting a touch on the delivery into the box, Hitchcock was left stranded as the Mariners broke down the right with Holmes, who beat his man and dribbled forward before playing it to Nicholson inside the area. He squared it for Cogdon, who made no mistake as he completed the job, with Hitchcock still desperately trying to make up the ground.
It rounded off an entertaining afternoon as the Mariners eventually claimed a deserved win to make progress in the cup.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Callaghan (Lough 77), Shaw (c), Morse, Briggs, Nicholson, Pattison, Sullivan (Cogdon 65), Richardson (Smith 65), Holmes. Subs not used: Norton, Storey, Blinco, Scott.
Goals: Sullivan (45), Pattison (70), Cogdon (90+2).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
South Shields are set for their opening game in this season’s Emirates FA Cup when Bridlington Town visit Mariners Park on Saturday.
Kick-off is at the earlier than usual time of 12.30pm, with the match to be streamed live across BBC Sport’s online platforms.
The Mariners have progressed beyond the preliminary round just once since the turn of the millennium, but will be hoping to do so in front of the cameras – and another big crowd.
Shields lost in the extra preliminary round to Marske United last season, but joint manager Graham Fenton is hoping they can go on a run in the competition this time around to help gather momentum.
He said: “The Emirates FA Cup is something we can focus on this year.
“It’s a big competition for us, because if you can get on a good run, it brings in some good revenue for the club as well.
“If you get through three or four rounds, the money starts rising quite rapidly.
“It would give us some good momentum as well in terms of bringing more people in through the gates.
“If we can keep on improving in the next few weeks, and get a positive result on Saturday, hopefully we can go on a decent run in this competition.”
However, Shields are expecting a difficult test against Bridlington, who defeated Northern League outfit Billingham Synthonia 2-0 in the extra preliminary round.
The two clubs last met in the first round of the FA Vase in 2009, with Bridlington going on to win 2-0.
They are now managed by former professional footballer and boxer Curtis Woodhouse, and finished third in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division last season – a division which was won comfortably by the Mariners’ FA Vase final opponents, Cleethorpes Town.
Fenton added: “Bridlington will be a decent team.
“They played against North Shields in pre-season, so I’ve tapped into their knowledge of them.
“You know what it’s like at this stage of the season, though. You don’t know whether that was their starting team for the season.
“They might have a few changes. The research that we did for Tuesday’s game against Brighouse Town was of a completely different team.
“There were three players who started the game that we had watched, so it’s difficult at this level, especially at the start of the season, to know if you’ve had them watched, whether that is actually their strongest team or not.
“We’ll take things from what we’ve been told, but maybe expect one or two changes in the line-up as well.”
Shields will be without in-form striker Carl Finnigan, who begins a three-match suspension after the club’s appeal against the red card he received in the win at Trafford last week was rejected.
The Mariners welcome Gavin Cogdon back from his holiday, but Julio Arca remains away, with the midfielder set to return to training on Tuesday.
The presence of the BBC cameras may add to the atmosphere at Mariners Park, believes Fenton, who is hoping for another bumper crowd.
He said: “It’s fantastic. It will hopefully create a bit more of an atmosphere with the cameras being here, and it gives the supporters who haven’t got the opportunity to come to the game, the chance to watch it on a live stream.
“We’re delighted to have them, and hopefully the BBC will be here more and more often over the next few years.”
Kick-off is at 12.30pm, and admission – to be paid at the turnstiles – is £8 for adults, £6 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.
Supporters can also watch the game from the balcony at Mariners Park by purchasing a wristband for £3. They’ll be available from behind the bar in the Barbour Lounge, but are restricted to 100 people because of safety reasons.
Supporters are advised that, because this is an FA competition game, there are different rules regarding the consumption of alcohol.
The FA rules dictate that alcohol must not be consumed outside of the clubhouse or marquee from 30 minutes before kick-off, until the end of the game.
We thank all fans for their continued support in adhering to the rules, as the club can be penalised if they are not followed. Thank you in advance for your co-operation!
We also hope you can stay with us through the afternoon and into the evening at Mariners Park.
Singer Jonathan Page will be performing in the marquee after the game, while the downstairs bar will be open until late.
If this is your first visit to Mariners Park and you would like some directions, please click here.
Thank you for your fantastic support.
South Shields’ Emirates FA Cup preliminary round tie with Bridlington Town on Saturday has been selected for live coverage by the BBC.
The decision of the broadcaster to stream the game live across its digital platforms means that it will kick-off at the earlier time of 12.30pm at Mariners Park.
Supporters unable to make it to the match will be able to watch it on their PC, mobile or connected TV, as well as on demand on BBC iPlayer, while it will be featured across the corporation’s social media channels.
South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: “It will be great to have the BBC here live streaming the game.
“It will hopefully further improve the profile of the club and give people the opportunity to watch it who might not have the chance to be here, especially those in different parts of the world.”
For the first time, the BBC is broadcasting one game from every round of the FA Cup this season.
The first tie shown was in the extra-preliminary round between minnows Litherland REMYCA and AFC Liverpool.
Saturday will be the first time the Mariners have had a full match featured by the BBC.
Fenton added: “We’re really looking forward to the tie against Bridlington.
“It’s our first Saturday home game of the season, and with it being in the FA Cup and the BBC being here, it’s even more special.
“We’re hoping for a bumper crowd, because it’s a huge day for us.
“We’ve already done our homework on Bridlington, as I’m sure they have done on us, and we’re hoping for a good performance and positive result.”
David Newton, the FA’s head of competitions, said ahead of the season: “We’re delighted that the BBC is widening the competition’s reach by allowing fans the opportunity to follow the drama live, right from the very start through to the showpiece final at Wembley Stadium next May.”
Steve Rudge, BBC Sport’s head of football, said: “We are delighted that audiences are able to share in the passion of the FA Cup from the opening stage of the competition for the very first time.
“To highlight the tournament from first kick to last will showcase the desire for success in the famous cup throughout the football pyramid.”