South Shields players at first-team and Academy level have followed in the footsteps of supporters and club officials by donating to the Tickets To The Future initiative.

More than 500 season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign have now been snapped up after a surge in sales over recent days.

Over 80 of those are junior tickets which have been donated back to the club to distribute to deserving children ahead of the season, with the assistance of SSFC Foundation.

Club captain and Head of Professional Development Jon Shaw, centre-back Dillon Morse, goalkeeper Ross Coombe and teenage talents Will Jenkins and Sam Hodgson are among those to have donated tickets to the initiative.

Midfielder Nathan Lowe, meanwhile, donated a child AND adult season ticket, while Academy players Joe Lockey, Joe Ames, Aaron Steavens and Ben Errington all added tickets to the fund, as did Academy graduate Will McCamley, who is now with Huddersfield Town.

Jordan Hunter – who excelled on loan with the Mariners from Sunderland in the 2019-20 campaign – also provided two child season tickets.

He said: “I think everyone knows how much I loved the last season at the club.

“I donated because you can see how much the club means to the town and this initiative will help to get children through the gates who wouldn’t normally get the chance to, and gives them an opportunity to have that enjoyment on a Saturday afternoon.

“It has been great to see so many people get on board with it and hopefully it continues to go from strength to strength, and then next season those young fans can watch the team achieve the promotion we deserved to get this year.”

The Tickets To The Future initiative was kicked off by Shields supporter Jeff Bell, who lives in London. He purchased eight child season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign before donating them back to the club.

Jeff’s wish was for the tickets to be given to deserving children who would not usually have the opportunity to attend games at Mariners Park. The club has committed to working with SSFC Foundation to identify those children.

After Jeff’s generosity was publicised on social media, a host of other figures came forward to donate tickets.

Among them were club officials Bob and Viv Scott, Daniel Prince, Colin Docherty, Kev Wilson and Janet Davies.

One supporter, who wished to remain anonymous, donated 10 junior tickets on Friday and the total amount of donations is expected to exceed 100 in the coming days.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Those who would like to make a donation of either junior, concession or adult season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign – or indeed buy a season ticket for themselves – can do so in one of two ways.

Please call 0191 454 7800 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays to buy and donate over the phone, or click here to buy online. If you buy online and would like to donate your ticket(s), please follow up your purchase by sending an email signalling your intention to do so to info@southshieldsfc.co.uk.

Thank you for the continued outstanding support and we hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy.

South Shields opened up a 12 point lead at the top of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division on a record-breaking and pulsating day at Mariners Park.

The Mariners defeated second-placed FC United 5-3 in a thrilling encounter in front of a crowd of 3,276, which broke the ground’s league attendance record.

It was a fully-deserved victory for Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side, who went ahead in the 21st minute as Jason Gilchrist found the net against his former club.

Shields’ first half dominance was rewarded with further goals in the latter stages of the half from Josh Gillies and Gilchrist, and they went into the half-time break with a huge amount of confidence.

FC United responded well in the early stages of the second half and pulled a goal back through the prolific Tunde Owolabi, only for Nathan Lowe to swiftly restore the three-goal advantage with a stunning drive from distance.

The end to the game was more fractured as the Mariners were forced to reshuffle three times because of injuries, with Owolabi adding two further goals to complete his hat-trick and give FC United some hope.

Between those strikes, though, Bali Mumba netted on his home debut for Shields to seal their victory and again boost their hopes of clinching promotion.

Full report to follow.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Baxter, Adams (Thompson 73), Shaw (c) (Ross 59), Verstraaten, Turnbull, Gillies, Briggs, Gilchrist (Mason 68), Lowe, Mumba. Subs not used: Jenkins, Gonzales.

Goals: Gilchrist (21, 45), Gillies (42), Lowe (52), Mumba (89).

Attendance: 3,274.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.

South Shields registered a convincing 4-1 win at in-form Gainsborough Trinity as they moved five points clear at the top of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division.

The Mariners produced one of their most impressive performances of the season to strengthen their promotion hopes as they built on an early goal from Darius Osei.

Nathan Lowe doubled the advantage 11 minutes before half-time and the away side continued to press on after the break, with goals from Dillon Morse and Josh Gillies sealing the points.

Gainsborough pulled one back from the penalty spot towards the end but could do little to dent what was a superb day for Shields in Lincolnshire.

They looked in determined mood from the outset and had their first sight of goal as early as the second minute as Jason Gilchrist flashed a shot wide from a Dom McHale corner.

The Mariners were dominant in possession and received their reward on nine minutes as Jon Shaw lifted a ball over the defence into the left channel and Osei wriggled his way through before finishing well from a tight angle as he netted his first goal for the club.

Shields were playing front foot football and went close to doubling their advantage on a number of occasions, with Osei firing into the side netting, Lowe sending a piledriver just wide and Blair Adams drilling a low ball across goal which just evaded a touch.

The deserved second goal arrived in the 34th minute as Lowe pounced on a loose ball in midfield and drove forward before hammering a low effort past home goalkeeper George Willis.

There were two good opportunities for the Mariners to make it three before half-time, but Morse and Osei were both narrowly off target with their attempts.

Shields will have expected a strong response from their hosts early in the second half and Gainsborough obliged.

They provided an improved goal threat but were unable to seriously trouble Myles Boney in the Shields goal before the Mariners pressed on again midway through the second half.

Willis did well to tip a long range bullet from Lowe wide but from the resulting corner, the Mariners added a third as Gillies’ cross from the right bounced in the area and was pounced on by Morse, who smashed it past Willis.

A fourth goal was added 10 minutes before the end when Willis saved from Gilchrist before Robert Briggs headed the rebound against the bar the ball bounced to Gillies, who nodded home.

Gainsborough pulled a goal back five minutes from the end as Gregg Smith converted from the spot, but the points had long since been sealed by the Mariners.

They will hope to build on the victory when they travel to Bamber Bridge next Saturday.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams (Verstraaten 80), Shaw (c), Morse, Turnbull, Baxter, Lowe, Gilchrist, Osei (Briggs 74), McHale (Gillies 46). Subs not used: Thompson, Ross.

Goals: Osei (9), Lowe (34), Morse (70), Gillies (80).

Attendance: 712.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.