The club can confirm the departure of Gavin Cogdon following the completion of his contract.
Cogdon leaves with a record of 56 goals in 107 appearances, and he played a part in five trophy wins during his three-year spell at Mariners Park.
The striker joined from Spennymoor Town in the summer of 2016 and leaves us with a great deal of happy memories, from his League Cup final hat-trick against North Shields in 2017 to his dramatic late winner against York City in the FA Cup later that year.
The club would like to thank him for his immense contribution over the last three years and wish him all the best for the future.
The club can also confirm it has decided to release Connor Bell.
The striker joined on a short-term deal in February, and went on to score one goal in 12 appearances.
We would also like to thank Connor for his efforts and endeavour in the short period he spent with the club, and wish him all the best for the future.
Further news will be released following the conclusion of individual discussions with the entirety of the current squad.
South Shields enjoyed another tremendous day as they set up a mouth-watering top of the table clash with Farsley Celtic by cruising to a 3-0 win at Basford United.
Shields moved level on points with Farsley at the top as they made it 10 league victories from their last 12 games with goals from David Foley, Dillon Morse and Gavin Cogdon.
The result saw the Mariners leapfrog Nantwich Town and Warrington Town and take a joint lead at the top with Farsley, who they have an identical goal difference to.
Shields went into the match expecting a response from Basford, who suffered a shock 8-3 home defeat against Hyde United in their previous game.
The Nottingham-based club had won 10 of their 12 home games before that thrashing and are the league’s top scorers, so the Mariners were well aware of the threat they posed.
A workmanlike display ensured Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side were able to negotiate the challenge with relative comfort, despite a resilient performance from Basford.
Picton and Fenton demanded a fast start from Shields and the players responded to that well, opening the scoring after just 70 seconds.
Basford goalkeeper Saul Deeney’s pass was intercepted by Craig Baxter on the right of the box and he squared the ball for Foley, who slotted into the bottom corner to send the Mariners on their way.
The home side’s biggest threat appeared to be from crosses and set-pieces, but they were unable to seriously test Liam Connell in the Shields goal.
It was the Mariners who were in control and after a good period of possession, they extended their lead before the half-hour mark.
A free-kick from deep on the left by Josh Gillies was miscued by defender Stef Galinski and Deeney parried the ball to the feet of Morse, who tapped home for his sixth goal of the season.
Gary Brown turned in another impressive performance at right-back and he looked like making it three when he took advantage of some space on the flank to drive into the box before his shot flashed wide.
Nathan Lowe also saw an effort fly past the post on the stroke of half-time as Shields took what felt like a comfortable advantage into the interval.
One area of concern at the break for the Mariners would have been the number of free-kicks given away in dangerous areas, but they defended the set-pieces stoically and protected Connell’s goal well.
Basford were mainly restricted to half chances before and after half-time, with Shields enjoying their best spell just before the hour mark as they looked to make the points safe.
Foley went close to adding his second of the afternoon when he got on the end of a through ball by Lowe before drilling wide, while a similar move saw Lowe find the in-form Lee Mason, who thrashed an effort which was deflected over.
Morse thought he had made it three when he found the net after Deeney spilled a corner, but his celebrations were cut short when the referee blew for a foul.
Blair Adams was the next to go close as he got in behind before being impressively denied by Deeney, who also saved from Baxter as Shields cranked up the pressure.
Basford’s only spell in the ascendancy came in the final 10 minutes but they came up against a defence determined not to be breached.
Brown saved two goals – one with a superb tackle, the other with a brave block – while Morse was also on hand to make a crucial block.
As the game ticked towards its conclusion Shields substitute Cogdon stretched a tired defence as he raced onto a ball over the top two minutes into stoppage time before firing low into the net to complete a fine afternoon’s work for the Mariners.
Now it’s all eyes on the huge clash with Farsley Celtic next Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Brown, Adams, Shaw (c), Morse, Turnbull, Baxter, Lowe, Mason (Cogdon 69), Gillies (Briggs 77), Foley (Harmison 85). Subs not used: Lough, Mouanda.
Goals: Foley (2), Morse (28), Cogdon (90+2).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.
South Shields ended Matlock Town’s 10-match unbeaten run in the Evo-Stik Premier Division in emphatic style as they honoured the memory of Jak Fada with a 5-0 win.
Just over a year on from the 10-year-old’s tragic death, the club labelled the match against Matlock as Jak Fada Day as children were allowed entry to the ground for free.
Those present watched a terrific display from Shields, who raced into a 3-0 first half lead thanks to an opener from Carl Finnigan and two from Gavin Cogdon.
The Mariners continued their dominance after half-time and wrapped up the three points with further goals from Jon Shaw and David Foley.
The result kept Shields seventh in the table, nine points off table-topping Nantwich Town with four games in hand.
They went into Saturday’s match expecting a difficult encounter against arguably the league’s most in-form side.
However, despite a strong opening five minutes from Matlock, Shields were in control throughout and thoroughly deserved their comfortable victory.
The Mariners first threatened a breakthrough in the ninth minute when a clearance from visiting goalkeeper Ross Durrant fell to the feet of Ursene Mouanda 30 yards out, and the midfielder was not far away from registering his first goal for the club as his effort looped just over.
They did not have to wait too much longer, though.
Captain Shaw clipped a ball over the top and Lee Mason ran onto it before rounding Durrant and seeing his shot from a tight angle cleared off the line by Adam Yates. Finnigan was determined to get to the loose ball first and did so before ramming it first time into the roof of the net.
It was a poignant moment as Finnigan opened the scoring in the 11th minute – Jak Fada would have been 11 now.
Shields played some outstanding football in the first half and doubled their lead after a terrific flowing move.
Robert Briggs played the ball inside from the right to Finnigan, who hit it first-time beyond the defence for Mason to run onto. Mason sent it across the face of goal and it struck defender Taron Hare before bouncing in off the knee of Cogdon.
Mason was at the heart of much of Shields’ best play and he was unfortunate not to add to the scoring when he got on the end of a Finnigan flick-on and fired over.
Goal number three did arrive before the half-hour mark as Blair Adams split the defence with a superb through ball and Cogdon raced onto it before beating Durrant with an audacious dink.
Matlock were perhaps fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men shortly afterwards when Durrant appeared to handle the ball outside the box, but the referee ruled it was inside the area and then penalised Cogdon, who had stolen the ball from the goalkeeper.
Shields hit the bar a minute before half-time when a Briggs corner was headed against the woodwork by a Matlock defender, and Cogdon almost completed a first half hat-trick as Durrant kept out his low drive.
There was no complacency in the second half from the Mariners, who extended their advantage in the 52nd minute.
Briggs curled in a terrific free-kick from the right and Shaw directed a brilliant header into the opposite corner to end any hopes Matlock had of staging a dramatic comeback.
Finnigan went close again when he fired over from a Briggs through ball, before Matlock hit the post when a ball in from the right was diverted towards goal.
Adams, Mason and Craig Baxter all went close, and Phil Turnbull almost netted his first goal for Shields as a ball across the area from Gary Brown was smashed into the side netting.
The fifth goal did arrive six minutes from the end when Briggs again split the defence with a fine through ball and Foley produced a sublime disguised finish on his 100th appearance for the club.
Foley was denied from point-blank range soon after but Shields had already done more than enough to secure the three points.
Next Saturday’s trip to Nantwich promises to be quite some occasion.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Adams, Shaw (c), Morse, Turnbull, Mouanda (Brown 71), Briggs, Mason, Finnigan (Gillies 59), Cogdon (Foley 64). Subs not used: Lough, Harmison.
Goals: Finnigan (11), Cogdon (21, 27), Shaw (52), Foley (84).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.