Under-15s clinch title
Russell Foster Youth League Under-15s Division Two
Tuesday, May 12 – Mortimer Community College
South Shields FC Under-15s vs Hetton Lyons Under-15s
South Shields: Ramage, Henderson, Gilchrist, McGill, Urwin, Smith, Howe (c), Daglish, McBeth, Birkett, Slater.
Subs: Raferty, Andersen
Goalscorers: McBeth (3), Howe, Urwin.
Hetton Lyons: Smile, Holmes, Box, Kent, Burdon, Hall, Wilson, Wmley, Conn, Stoker, McCullough.
Report by Philip Reay
The Professional Flooring Services-sponsored South Shields Under-15s went into the game with Hetton looking to claim the three points required to take the league title, and also requiring six goals to reach 100 for the season.
On a cold, windy night, it was good to see some of the senior team supporters brave the elements to support the young Mariners.
The game started with Hetton having the advantage of a fairly strong wind at their back, and within the first minute they pressed forward, only to be thwarted by Jack Ramage in the Shields goal.
Shields responded immediately, and within a minute won a corner that was cleared by the Hetton defence, but only as far as George Daglish. Following good close control, he found Alex McBeth in space, and he took a touch before rifling the ball into the bottom corner of the goal to calm the nerves of the assembled South Shields supporters.
Shields maintained the pressure on the Hetton defence. McBeth and Lewis Slater combined on the left of the park to release Codie Howe, who controlled the ball before firing a 25-yard shot inches wide of the post.
On 10 minutes, Hetton broke forward and were awarded a free-kick. Kyle McCullough placed the ball, but his shot was well saved by Ramage.
Again Shields responded. McBeth again raced down the right flank and played the ball to Tom Birkett, and he in turn found Howe, but his shot flew wide.
On the quarter-hour, Hetton’s McCullough broke through the Shields defence and into the box, only to be denied by a superb challenge by Edward Gilchrist.
This was to be brief respite for the Hetton defence, as Shields again pressed forward. Ramage played the ball short to Sam Urwin on the right flank, and he broke forward and threaded the ball through to Birkett, who turned away from his marker before releasing Howe, and he fired the ball over the bar.
As the half approached the midpoint, Josh Smith won the ball in the centre of the park and found Howe in space on the left. Howe outpaced his marker before playing the ball into the path of Birkett, who drove the ball towards the corner of the goal, but was denied by a good save by the Hetton keeper.
Howe again broke through the Hetton defence and found Birkett in space on the right. Birkett rounded his man before firing a shot across the face of goal that flew just wide.
From the restart, McBeth picked the ball up on the half way line and played a one-two with Daglish before crossing the vall for Slater, and he rifled a first time shot wide of the post.
On 25 minutes, Daglish won the ball on the left of the park and played it down the line to McBeth, and he laid it into the path of Howe, but his shot flew wide.
Shields maintained the pressure on the visitors’ defence. Howe collected a ball from Ramage and fired a volley at goal that the keeper was only able to collect at the second attempt.
On the half-hour, a Smith corner was headed towards goal by Slater, but his effort was blocked by a defender before being picked up by the keeper.
A minute later, a long-range shot by Howe was fumbled by the keeper, and McBeth reacted quickest to fire the ball towards goal, only to be denied as the keeper tipped the effort round the post.
The Shields pressure was relentless, and in the closing minutes of the first half, Slater was denied by a superb fingertip save from the Hetton keeper.
A minute later, Shields eventually gained the reward their pressure deserved. Howe won the ball in a central position and broke through the midfield before releasing Birkett, and he in turn found McBeth, and he drove the ball beyond the keeper to double the Mariners’ advantage.
The last action of the half saw Hetton break forward, and having been a spectator for most of the game, Ramage was alert to the danger, saving well from the Hetton No.6, and the young Mariners went into the break two goals to the good.
The second half started with Shields on the front foot. Slater won the ball in the centre of the park before releasing Howe, but his shot flew wide of the post.
A minute later, Howe again had an opportunity from the edge of the box, but his shot was well saved.
Ten minutes into the half, Howe and McBeth combined on the right flank to open up the defence, and Howe fired a shot at goal from the right that hit the angle of the goal before being hacked clear.
A minute later and again the woodwork came to the rescue of the visitors. Liam Andersen broke out of defence and found Howe in space and he slipped the ball to McBeth, who saw his shot deflected for a corner. From the corner, Slater played the ball to Birkett, and his shot struck the bar before being cleared.
Despite their dominance, Shields were unable to add to their tally, and then on the hour – against the run of play – Hetton reduced the deficit.
As at Hetton, it was McCullough that found the net, as he collected a long ball out of defence and beat Ramage with a long-range shot.
From the restart, Shields again broke forward, and Birkett went close to restoring the two-goal advantage as he fired a shot at goal from the angle of the box that was well saved by the keeper.
The two-goal lead was restored a minute later. From a quickly taken throw-in by McBeth, Howe collected the ball and beat his marker before firing in from 20 yards.
The goal spurred Shields forward, and within a minute Howe came close to doubling his tally with a shot from the edge of the box that was tipped round the post by the keeper. The resulting corner was cleared, but only as far as Scott Rafferty, and he rifled the ball back towards goal, but was denied by the keeper.
The Shields advantage was further extended on 70 minutes as McBeth claimed a well-deserved hat-trick. He collected a long ball from keeper Ramage and chipped the ball over the advancing keeper for 4-1.
The scoring was completed a minute later. Rafferty rifled a 25-yard shot at goal that was tipped onto the bar, and Urwin reacted quickest to fire in for 5-1.
Shields pressed forward in the closing 10 minutes, but were unable to get the goal that would bring up the century for the season.
With one game remaining, the young Mariners are in an unassailable position at the top of the league, and rather than the usual dash for warmth at the end of the game, everyone stayed back to take photographs. Following the celebratory photographs, the champions elect sprayed each other with a bottle of bubbly.
Next up is a trip to Swalwell on Sunday to end the season hopefully with a win and a goal to bring up the 100.