By Daniel Prince
Jon King has praised South Shields’ young guns after two members of Kevin Bolam’s Under-18s side made an impact against Team Northumbria on Saturday.
Dan Pickering and Ryan Bolam were introduced as second half substitutes at Eden Lane with the visitors leading 2-0.
Both produced positive displays, with Pickering coming on for his debut and fellow 17-year-old Bolam making his fourth senior appearance.
King felt the sight of both of them on the pitch was a real positive to take from the day for Shields, who were unable to get back into the game and lost it 2-0.
The Shields manager told Mariners TV: “Dan and Ryan did really well when they came on, and that was a big positive for us on the day.
“We had gone 2-0 down by the time both of them were brought on, but they gave us a lift.
“Ryan, especially, put in an impressive performance, as he got on the ball and went at his full-back well. He’s very positive and enthusiastic.
“Dan, on the other flank, ran with the ball well. He’s quick and also really enthusiastic.
“That was the plus point from the game for us, but at that stage we were 2-0 down and Team Northumbria were seeing the game out.
“I thought the two lads, when they came on, gave us enthusiasm, because that was certainly missing when we gave those two goals away.”
Pickering and Bolam may not be the only Under-18s players to represent the first team this season.
Reece Marsden and Mark Brown were also at the game on Saturday having been registered to play, and they narrowly missed out on a place on the bench.
They are all part of the club’s Under-18 side, who are in reality an Under-17 outfit playing a year above their age group.
The team is competing in the Durham County FA’s Under-18s league for the first time this season, and after 17 games, they are sixth in the table on 29 points.