By Daniel Prince
Boldon CA inflicted a second defeat of pre-season on South Shields on Saturday as they won the Sam Bartram Memorial Cup with a 1-0 victory.
Josh Houghton scored the winner four minutes into the second half, with an experimental Shields side unable to force their way back into the game.
It was an even encounter, but Boldon were resolute throughout, and looked threatening in the last third as they claimed the trophy.
The game started in quiet fashion, but Shields almost took the lead on 17 minutes when Joe Melvin’s sweet left-footed effort from the edge of the box struck the base of the post.
At the other end, goalkeeper Ryan Beal kept the Mariners level when he pulled off a superb fingertip save from a curling Houghton shot, while he also denied ex-Shields striker Adam Sharp as Boldon started to impress.
Sharp had another glorious opportunity to open the scoring on 37 minutes as he latched onto a ball over the top, but then miscontrolled as he tried to round Beal, who gratefully claimed it.
Shields came on strongly in the latter stages of the half, and Melvin created a great chance for Adam Curry with a cross from the right, but he headed it wide.
Three minutes before the break, Aron Burn came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock when James Hepinstall’s cross was nudged across goal by Gary Crutwell and prodded goalwards by Burn. A Boldon defender scrambled the ball clear, with Shields claiming the ball had crossed the line, but the officials remaining unmoved.
Boldon were the team to open the scoring, with Houghton sending a half-volley into the top corner four minutes into the second half.
Sharp dragged a shot wide soon after, while Boldon created one more gilt-edged opportunity while limiting Shields’ chances at the other end.
Lee Scott sent a header wide and Paul Kane had a free-kick saved, but Shields were unable to force a goal, and Boldon claimed the victory as they took the cup.
The Mariners are next in action on Wednesday, with FA Vase champions North Shields the visitors to Mariners Park for a 7.30pm kick-off.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Beal, Locke (c) (Nicholson 60), Hepinstall (Gray 58), Burn, Galpin (Turner 50), Chapim, Sakr (Buchanan 69), Crutwell (Kempster 63), Guerin (Scott 50), Melvin (Kane 60), Curry (Holland 58).