Goalkeepers took centre stage as SSFC Academy secured a dramatic double win on a packed day of action on Wednesday.
The young Mariners thrashed Frickley Athletic 7-1 in the National League Under-19 Alliance to move up to third in the table, with goalkeeper Jacob Bramley among the goalscorers. There was also a hat-trick for Max Cowburn while Callum Guy netted twice and Tom Green scored the other.
The club’s academy squad was split in two for the afternoon, with the rest of the players taking on Ralph Thoresby School in the ECFA National play-offs.
Will McCamley gave Shields a 1-0 lead late in the match but the young Mariners were pegged back late on.
Extra-time yielded no further goals but Shields went on to win a dramatic penalty shoot-out, with goalkeeper Aaron Steavens shining as he made three saves from the spot to seal a 5-4 victory as he helped his side into the national quarter-finals.
Head of youth performance and development Jamie Williams said: “The first half was very scrappy, with not a great deal of chances for either side, and the second half was similar until Will McCamley scored after a fine through ball from Michael Colquhoun 12 minutes from the end.
“We tried to see the game out but gave away a free-kick with three minutes to go and they scored directly from it.
“They had the more clear-cut chances in extra-time but it went to penalties and Aaron pulled off some great saves to help us over the line.”
The young Mariners qualified for the ECFA National play-offs by finishing as runners-up to Monkseaton High School in their group.
They thought they had won the group after beating Tyne Met College a fortnight ago, having finished on the same number of points as Monkseaton at the top and with a better goal difference.
Both sides were initially unaware, though, that when teams in the ECFA League finish level on points, it is decided initially on head-to-head record, meaning Monkseaton pipped Shields to first place. Both sides qualified for the play-offs and both are now into the quarter-finals.
SSFC Academy team against Ralph Thoresby School: Steavens, Yembe, Lockey, Carney, Patterson, Onarbay, S Black, Dunn, Colquhoun, Duncan, McCamley. Subs: Croft, Scott.
Williams and Lee Picton took charge of the academy’s game at Ralph Thoresby, with Graham Fenton and Wess Brown overseeing the win over Frickley.
Cowburn and Guy scored five goals between them as Shields established a 5-0 lead, with Green making it six.
Frickley pulled one goal back before Shields were forced to push Bramley up-front after an injury to Arron Thompson, with no more outfield substitutes available.
Bramley delighted all those of a claret and blue persuasion by scoring – with Fenton declaring it was the ‘kind of moment you’re in football for’.
Fenton said: “It was a really strong performance from the lads.
“We generally moved the ball very well and scored some decent goals, while also missing some good opportunities as well.
“We need to work on our game management a bit, but that’s understandable when they’re at this age.
“We were looking for more goals at 5-0 up which was fine, but we didn’t keep the back door shut well enough.
“It should be a really good learning curve for the lads into how to see a game out properly in terms of controlling it.
“There were lots of good performances from the likes of Arron Thompson, Callum Guy, Michael Colquhoun and Tom Green, who made a really positive impact from the bench.
“To top it all off, Jacob Bramley scored the seventh goal and the lads were buzzing for him.
“It was one of those moments that you’re involved in football for.
“He scored with his first chance and could have scored another.
“The video analysis work we did earlier in the week clearly rubbed off on Jacob because he looked like Romelu Lukaku with his movement!”
SSFC Academy team against Frickley Athletic: Bramley, Morris, Allen, Thompson, Errington, Bexton, Junior, Biwer, Cowburn, Guy, Allasan. Subs: Armstrong, L Black, Green.
Max Cowburn hit five goals as South Shields Academy stormed to a 13-0 win at Crewe Alexandra in the National League Under-19 Alliance League Cup on Wednesday.
Bailey Judson also netted a hat-trick in the young Mariners’ first round victory as they turned on the style with TWELVE second half goals in Cheshire.
Dom Minchella (2), Callum Guy (2) and Josh Elcoate were the other scorers in what became a thumping win for Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side.
The score was just 1-0 at half-time before Shields found their cutting edge after the break.
Picton said: “The lads played some really good football at times in the game.
“We lacked a little bit of a cutting edge in the final third in the first half.
“We found that in abundance in the second half to win the match comfortably.
“It is great that we have progressed to the next round, when we will be hoping for a stronger test.”
SSFC Academy: Armstrong, Biwer, Scott, Carney, Onarbay, Bexton, McCamley, Elcoate, Colquhoun, Guy, Cowburn. Subs: Patterson, Allen, Minchella, Judson.
Goals: Cowburn (5), Judson (3), Guy (2), Minchella (2), Elcoate (1).
South Shields Academy made a winning start to life in the ECFA Category One Premier League as they hit seven goals past York College i2i on Wednesday.
The young Mariners won 7-2 at Silksworth Sports Centre and put in a performance which left joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton delighted.
Michael Colquhoun and Max Cowburn both scored twice, while Will McCamley, Lewis Orrell and Sam Hodgson were also on target for Shields.
The game was held at the same time as a friendly fixture involving more SSFC Academy players against a Durham University XI at Maiden Castle. Shields came from 2-0 behind in that match to win 4-2 with goals from Brad Allen and Josh Elcoate, along with a brace from Joe Ames.
In the match at Silkworth, the Mariners struck first and, after York equalised, the hosts secured victory with a run of five goals to go 6-1 ahead.
York netted a consolation but it was to be Shields who had the final say as they scored their seventh to wrap up a comprehensive win.
Picton was pleased with the way they coped with the difficult conditions.
He said: “We were really pleased with the win.
“We had a bit of a slow start in what were testing, windy conditions, and it took us 15 to 20 minutes to get our basics right and adapt to the conditions.
“We got better and better as the game went on, and some of our attacking play and movement was an absolute joy to watch.
“We put together some fantastic team moves, and the only disappointing aspect of the game was the two goals we conceded, because they were particularly sloppy.
“That is something we will need to tidy up moving forwards.
“All 16 players in the squad got equal game time, as the league allows rolling substitutions, so they all played their part in what was a really convincing win.”
SSFC ACADEMY: Armstrong, Biwer, Cooper, Thompson, Patterson, Bexton, McCamley, Scott, Annang, Guy, Cowburn. Subs: Onarbay, Carney, Orrell, Judson, Hodgson.