South Shields saw off Billingham Town in an entertaining tie to book their place in the quarter-final of the Durham Challenge Cup – but the win was overshadowed by a knee injury sustained by Luke Daly.
Daly was 12 minutes into his comeback from a five-month lay-off when he was stretchered off to leave his Shields team-mates in sombre mood.
They were already a goal ahead at that stage thanks to a fine finish from Lee Mason and he netted again 11 minutes before half-time to double the advantage.
Northern League side Billingham threatened a comeback when Dan Flounders quickly pulled a goal back but Callum Guy’s strike just before the break restored the Mariners’ two-goal lead.
Daly’s replacement Josh Gillies – himself making a comeback from a long-term injury – struck Shields’ fourth in the second half and although Luke Hogan would later add Billingham’s second, it was the home side which made it through to a home quarter-final against Stockton Town.
Full report to follow.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Coombe, Baxter, Charlton (Adams 61), Ross, Morse, Errington, Daly (c) (Gillies 15), Guy, Hodgson (Alli 61), Jenkins, Mason. Subs not used: Hunter, Gonzales.
Goals: Mason (7, 34), Guy (45+1), Gillies (60).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.
Midfielder Nathan Lowe has signed a new contract with South Shields which keeps him at Mariners Park until the summer of 2021, with the option for a further year.
Lowe joined Shields from Southport in October 2018 and has so far made 52 appearances for the club, scoring 11 times.
He said: “I’m delighted to have signed a new contract at this great club.
“I had contemplated possibly moving back home to be closer to my family but when I sat down and thought about it, this is the club where it’s happening and I want to be a part of it moving forward.
“I can confidently say that this is the best team I’ve played in, I can confidently say Lee and Graham are the best managers I’ve played under and I can confidently say that these are by far the best fans I’ve played in front of.”
South Shields joint manager Lee Picton said: “Since coming to the club, Nathan has been a key part of the squad and we are delighted that he has committed his future to us.
“He was in his option year from his last contract and we really wanted to keep him at the club.
“Nathan was more than happy to stay and is really enjoying his time here.
“Hopefully it works out really well for all parties.”
Meanwhile, we can confirm that Sanmi Odelusi’s contract at the club has been mutually terminated.
The club would like to thank Sanmi for his efforts during his time at Mariners Park and wish him all the best for the future.
We can also confirm that Callum Guy has been recalled from his loan spell at West Auckland Town and is available for Saturday’s league fixture against Radcliffe at Mariners Park.
SSFC Academy graduates Arron Thompson and Callum Guy have continued their progression by signing first-team contracts for the 2019-20 season.
The deals will see them stay with the club for at least another year as they bid to build on an extremely positive last 12 months.
Thompson joined the Academy a year ago and went on to make three senior appearances last season, most notably in the Durham Challenge Cup final against Shildon when he produced a polished and composed display in midfield.
Guy linked up with the club when the Academy was formed two years ago and has made a significant impact since then, consistently impressing at Academy level and also when called upon by the first-team. He currently has nine senior appearances and two goals to his name.
Both players have now graduated from the Academy set-up to the first-team squad, and joint manager Graham Fenton is pleased they have committed their future to the club.
He said: “We’re delighted that Arron and Callum have agreed to sign for the club for at least the next year.
“Both players have thoroughly deserved their opportunity to join the first-team squad through their performances over the course of their time with the Academy.
“We feel both have progressed excellently over the last 12 months and we have high hopes that over the next year they will be really pushing towards first-team places.”
Thompson and Guy were part of the Shields team which won the National League Under-19 Alliance League Cup last season, beating Basford United on penalties at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium.
Thompson scored in what was a 2-2 draw while both netted in the penalty shoot-out, with Guy dispatching the winning kick.
Fenton insists that the work has only just begun for the midfield pair, though.
He added: “They both know they’ve still got work to do to get there but they have the attitude and mentality to put the effort in to get their rewards.
“They will further boost the competition for places in midfield areas and they know that the players who are ahead of them at the moment are very, very good players, but I’m sure they will give it everything they’ve got to progress and earn their right to play in the first-team.”