South Shields registered their first victory of pre-season on an entertaining night against West Auckland Town at 1st Cloud Arena.
Goals from Nathan Lowe, a trialist and Will McCamley were enough for the Mariners against a strong West Auckland side featuring former Shields players Tom Flynn and Chris Hunter.
It was a positive night’s work for Shields as they showed improved fluency and peppered the West goal with efforts.
They took the lead in the seventh minute as Wouter Verstraaten claimed the ball on halfway and played it into the feet of Lowe, who took two touches before belting a shot which glanced the underside of the bar before finding the target.
The Mariners had an opportunity to double their advantage soon after when Alex Kempster surged down the right and cut inside before firing a left-foot effort past the post.
Shields were in control but their Northern League visitors pegged them back in the 19th minute thanks to some sharp play on the left as Craig Baxter was robbed of possession by Anthony Bell before he squared it to Mason Hurworth, who converted into an empty net.
The home side quickly regained the initiative and went close to going back in front when Jason Gilchrist’s shot from 20 yards was palmed behind by Flynn.
The Mariners had to wait until seven minutes before half-time to regain the lead, with Kempster running in behind down the left before his cross found the head of a trialist, who found the corner of the net.
There were numerous opportunities for a third goal in the remainder of the first half but Gilchrist was denied by the offside flag before Arron Thompson forced Flynn into a low save after some neat work in the middle.
Gary Brown almost made his mark in spectacular fashion 10 minutes into the first half following some superb one-touch play involving Robert Briggs and Kempster, but his eventual left-foot effort was parried. Shields kept the ball alive and a further shot by their trialist forced another save.
Callum Ross sent a long range shot not far wide from distance while the Mariners passed up a glorious opportunity for goal number three when Verstraaten progressed through the centre and opted to pass it onto Will Jenkins, who was unable to get an effort away. The ball eventually squirmed out to McCamley, whose shot trickled against the post as Shields were denied.
They did not have to wait too much longer for their third goal, though, and it arrived when Ross and Mathew Wade combined on the right and the latter sent in a cross which was retrieved by Sam Hodgson and laid off to McCamley, who fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Jenkins and Hodgson both had opportunities in the closing stages to add their names to the scoresheet but there were to be no further goals as Shields registered a 3-1 win.
South Shields: Boney (Coombe 74), Baxter (Wade 61), Adams (Croft 61), Ross (Thompson 30), Morse (Verstraaten 61), Verstraaten (Brown 30), Kempster (McCamley 61), Briggs (c) (Ross 61), Gilchrist (Hodgson 61), Lowe (Jenkins 61), McCamley (Trialist 30). Subs not used: Lockey.
Goals: Lowe (7), Trialist (38), McCamley (73).
SSFC Academy graduate Will McCamley has rejoined the club on loan from Huddersfield Town.
The 19-year-old has penned a deal until January at 1st Cloud Arena and will link up with the first-team squad.
McCamley earned a move to SkyBet Championship side Huddersfield with his stellar performances for Shields’ Academy, where he was nurtured between 2017 and 2019.
The winger’s displays in the club’s run to the second round of the FA Youth Cup in the 2018-19 season particularly caught the eye, and he now has an opportunity to make his mark at first-team level with the Mariners.
Shields joint manager Lee Picton said: “We know Will very well from our time overseeing the academy and he was always someone we were keen to keep a careful eye on moving forwards.
“When the opportunity came to bring him in on loan we felt he would give us an added really interesting option in a wide area.
“Personality-wise, we know Will will be a really good fit for our dressing room and club, and we really look forward to him putting on a Shields shirt again and being an eye-catching player for the fans to watch.”
McCamley will now hope to enjoy his first taste of senior football with the Mariners, having been an unused substitute in an Emirates FA Cup tie against Garforth Town in September 2018.
He joined Hyde United on loan in March but was quickly recalled by Huddersfield when the coronavirus pandemic spiralled, before he was able to make an appearance.
The club would like to thank Catalyst Professional Sports Management for their assistance with this deal.
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 email@example.com.
Thank you for the continued outstanding support and we hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy.