South Shields had a season to remember as they finished the NERWFL Premier Division in fifth place, ending the campaign in great form.
The Mariners completed the season with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Wallsend Boys Club, after previously dispatching Sheffield Wednesday Ladies 11-0.
Looking back on a successful season, head coach Ben Garrity said: “Overall I think this season was very positive.
“To see where we progressed from losing our first three games was massively positive.
“It showed the character of the squad massively. They dug in, listened, worked hard and results started coming their way.
“We had our longest run in the FA Cup and also finished in the top half of the table, so it has been massively positive.
“The only team we didn’t took points from was York, who finished top and only lost one game, so I think that is very respectable.”
Garrity took the step-up to the managerial position while the season was underway, and enjoyed a great start at the helm.
He continued: “From a personal level, it has also been amazing.
“South Shields was my first job in women’s football as assistant manager. When Scott Curtis stepped down, that then turned into my first manager’s job in women’s football, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’ve loved every minute of it and the girls were amazing throughout the season.
“I’m really looking forward to next season, as are all the girls.
“There are lots of exciting things happening at South Shields off the pitch which will all be amazing to be part of.
“The club is really pushing the women’s side and giving us a lot of backing going into the new season, which we are very grateful for.”
After ending the season in fantastic form, the Mariners have high expectations for the forthcoming campaign, and believe that they can go one step further.
Garrity added: “Our aims and expectations are very high for next season.
“We want to be up there challenging for the league and cup competitions.
“This group showed this season that they are capable of anything.
“The work has already started for next year and I genuinely cannot wait for the season ahead. It should be a very good one.”
South Shields head into their final game of the season in great form in the North East Regional Women’s League.
The Mariners are up against Wallsend at Downhill Football Hub on Sunday.
Ben Garrity’s side ran rampant in their last fixture as they proved too hot to handle and were 11-0 victors against Sheffield Wednesday.
That was their fifth win of an unbeaten six-match run and now Shields are looking to end their campaign on a high – and perhaps seal a top-four finish.
Head coach Garrity said: “It would be great to see the South Shields supporters down supporting the Ladies in our last game of the season.
“It’s been an eventful season. There have been lots of ups and downs but overall, in my opinion, it has been a massively positive one.
“We have given ourselves a very good foundation to work from going into next season.”
Shields were defeated in the reverse fixture, but have come a long way since.
Garrity added: “When we played Wallsend away from home we narrowly lost 1-0, but we had a massive off day, and that happens at this level.
“We are looking to put that right on Sunday, continue our fantastic six-game unbeaten run and end the season very well.
“It would be great to see lots of supporters there when we sign off our season and I’m sure any support will give the Ladies the extra boost they need to get over the line on Sunday.”
Entry is free at Downhill Football Hub (SR5 4BY) and the Mariners will kick off at 2pm.
Shields go into the game fifth in the table, two points behind fourth-placed Redcar Town.
South Shields FC Ladies were rampant as the Mariners ran out 4-0 winners over Hartlepool United on Sunday.
A second-half brace from Annece Legg, followed by strikes from Sophie White and Alex Miller, saw the Mariners take all three points in the North East Regional Women’s Football League.
Shields came inches away from taking an early lead as Caitlin Bates dinked the goalkeeper, only to see her effort bounce back off the crossbar.
Legg tried her luck from distance, but the goalkeeper matched her effort and held onto the ball.
The chances continued to come as the Mariners kept up the pressure, with White the next to go close when she broke through on goal and stuck just the wrong side of the post.
Becki McMahon’s right-footed effort sailed wide of the target and the tempo of the game did not dwindle as Shields kept pushing for the opening goal, as a scramble in the Hartlepool area was cleared off the line.
Just on the stroke of half-time, Bates’ free-kick was well tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper, as her attempt looked destined for the top corner.
Shields’ pressure finally paid off just after the break as Legg spotted the goalkeeper off the line and lifted the ball into the net from distance.
Eve Gatens and Bates connected brilliantly as looked to add a quick second, but the goalkeeper somehow kept the home side in it.
Legg doubled hers, and Shields’, tally as she scored another sensational goal. She took a fantastic first touch and powered her effort off the underside of the bar and just over the line, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Moments later, Shields were awarded a penalty. Bates stepped up, but the goalkeeper pulled off a magnificent save.
It wasn’t long before the Mariners had a third. Bates beat the defender and played a brilliant cross into the path of White, who controlled her header into the bottom corner.
Shields were rampant and grabbed a fourth shortly afterwards. Bates’ corner found the head of Miller, who powered her effort into the far corner, rounding off a fantastic afternoon for the Mariners.
The result kept Ben Garrity’s side eighth in the table heading into their final six league matches of the campaign.
Image by ID Event Photography.