Under-16s Durham County Cup Third Round, Sunday November 23
South Shields FC Under-15s: Ramage, Rafferty, McGill, Urwin, Gilchrist, Hutchinson, McBeth, Slater, Harrison, Howe, Hogg. Subs: Daglish, Smith, Henderson, Andersen.
Stockton Town Under-16s: Bradley, Massey, Small, Daniel, Selby, Dawson, Hallatt, Mahoney, Mackie, Lacy, Marshall. Subs: Gage, Francis, Harkin, Berryman.
South Shields FC: Harrison, Howe, Andersen.
Stockton: Dawson, Lacy, Marshall.
Report by Philip Reay
South Shields Under-15s went out of the Durham County Cup at the third round stage following the cruellest of defeats in a penalty shoot-out against Stockton Town Under-16s.
The game started well for the young Mariners as they retained possession and played their way round the Stockton defence in a flowing move that ended with Sam Harrison and Alex McBeth combining on the right to release McBeth, but his shot flew over the crossbar.
The young Shields side maintained the pressure on the visitors’ defence as their slick passing prevented the opposition from getting into the game.
With the quarter-hour approaching, a ball from Lewis Slater found Harrison and his effort rattled the post before being hacked clear, but only as far as Codie Howe. He unleashed a first time shot from 25 yards that had the keeper at full stretch to tip the ball over.
Despite dominating possession, Shields were finding it difficult to create any clear cut chances and their attempts on goal were limited to long range shots as Howe, McBeth and Harrison all had attempts comfortably saved by the Stockton keeper.
With the game approaching the 25 minute mark, Shields keeper Jack Ramage had to be alert as Stockton were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box, but a superb save ensured the scores remained level.
The Shields pressure eventually bore fruit as McBeth found Harrison in space, and he made no mistake as he rifled the ball past the keeper to give the home side a deserved advantage.
Shields continued to pressurise the opposition, and with five minutes remaining in the half they doubled their advantage. The referee awarded the young Mariners a free-kick 25 yards out, just to the right of the goal, and Howe stepped forward to fire the ball round the defensive wall and beyond the reach of the keeper.
Unfortunately, a defensive lapse allowed the visitors to reduce the arrears instantly from the restart as Dawson fired in from close range to take the sides into the break with Shields holding a slender advantage.
Shields pressed forward at the start of the second half, but again they were finding it difficult to break down a strong Stockton defence.
As the game approached the 50 minute mark, Slater played the ball into the path of Howe, but his shot was blocked.
On the hour, a long ball out of defence by the Stockton keeper had Shields in trouble, but a superb challenge by Aiden Hutchinson cleared the danger.
The Stockton side were beginning to impose themselves on the game, and on 68 minutes from a free-kick on the edge of the box, Lacy fired in to restore parity.
Despite both sides having further chances, the game ended all-square and moved into extra-time.
Again, the sides were evenly matched, resulting in the game being concentrated in midfield, and there was very little in the way of goalmouth action in the first period.
Shields created their first opportunity on seven minutes as Howe broke down the left, but he fired his shot into the side netting.
Stockton replied immediately, and again Ramage had to be at his best to keep the scores level.
In the last action of the first period, McBeth had a shot charged down and Liam Andersen (pictured) fired over.
Shields were much the brighter of the sides in the second period as early pressure almost opened up the visitors’ defence.
Slater and McBeth combined on the left, and the keeper only managed to claim the ball at the second attempt.
A minute later, Slater again provided a ball through the Stockton defence, but Andersen fired over.
The Shields pressure was rewarded on 100 minutes. Slater again found Andersen in space, and this time he made no mistake as he chipped the ball over the head of the advancing keeper.
The young Mariners had what looked like a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside as Andersen controlled well in front of the Stockton defence, beat his man and fired home only to be denied by the whistle.
Following that, a defensive lapse proved crucial, and Stockton instantly restored parity to take the game to a penalty shoot-out, and it was the visitors that held their nerve to advance into the next round.
South Shields Under-15s are in County Cup action tomorrow (Sunday).
They are taking on Stockton Town Under-16s in the last 16 of the competition at Mortimer CA.
Kick-off is at 1.30pm on the 3G pitch, and all support is welcome.
Below is a video of the team in training.