Graham Stephenson was the match-winner again as South Shields Reserves made it three wins out of three on Saturday.

The Mariners beat Stokesley 3-2 in an entertaining Wearside League encounter at the Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare Ground.

Stephenson – who had netted a hat-trick in the 5-2 Durham Trophy win over Wolviston a week earlier – scored the winning goal just after the hour mark as Shields climbed to 11th in the table, with games in hand on most of those above them.

They have recovered from a slow start, and now have five wins to their name from 12 league matches.

Things did not look as rosy early on against Stokesley, though, who took the lead when Ryan Rivis scored from close range following a free-kick.

Jordan Reed slotted home the equaliser for the Mariners, who then went in front on the stroke of half-time as Logan Powell ran free and beat the goalkeeper with ease.

Five minutes into the second half, Rivis equalised with his second goal of the game as he beat goalkeeper Jack Ramage from the penalty spot.

Shields were not to be denied, though, and their winner came in the 63rd minutes as Powell made a strong run from the right and his cross found Stephenson, who smashed the ball home.

The reserves face a double-header at the Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare Ground later this week.

They host Coxhoe Athletic in a 7.30pm kick-off on Wednesday, and face Harton and Westoe on Friday at the same time.

Admission for both games is £2 for adults and £1 for concessions, and support would be hugely appreciated.

SSFC RESERVES: Ramage, Johnson, Wright, Howe, Simpson-McGill, Reed, D Conroy (Aleagha), Stephenson, Francois (Vickers), Powell, McKeith. Subs not used: Parkin, Moyse-Mukhtar, T Conroy.

Goals: Reed, Powell, Stephenson.

South Shields Reserves won their second game in a row – as Julio Arca and Harrison Scott enjoyed some much-needed game time on Wednesday.

In front of another good crowd at the Harton and Westoe Miners’ Welfare, the reserves followed up their 3-2 victory at Prudhoe Town last Saturday with another step in the right direction.

Arca played the first hour of the game, just two days after returning to the North East from an extended break in Argentina, while Scott played the full 90 minutes on his comeback from a hamstring injury.

The Mariners deserved to be ahead after a bright first half showing, but had to wait until just before the hour mark to make the breakthrough.

Arca turned his man inside-out before his cross was palmed out to Jake McDermott, who managed to divert it home.

The second goal arrived when an impressive corner from Anthony Vickers was powerfully headed in by Ali Aleagha, with Shields picking up three points they fully merited.

A crushing 9-1 defeat at Cleator Moor now appears to be fully behind the Mariners, who are climbing the Wearside League table after a slow start.

Coaching team Leepaul Scroggins, David Graham, Christopher Reay and Simon Parkin know there is much work yet to be done, but are convinced they are now on the right track.

Reay said: “We had a really tough start, going back to pre-season.

“We had to put the squad together quickly and it was difficult to begin with, but we’ve won two in a row, which is a great confidence booster for the lads.

“There’s a lot of hard work still to go. We’re by no means the finished product and have got a very tough game on Saturday at Silksworth, but we’re over the moon to have chalked up two victories.”

On the involvement of Arca and Scott, Reay added: “We owe a lot to Lee Picton and Graham Fenton, and we offer a big thanks to them for lending us those players and giving us access to the first-team players who need minutes.

“We’re more than happy at any time where we can to help out.”