Under-15s in action

South Shields’ Under-15s are set to play a potential title decider at Peterlee on Tuesday.

The young Mariners will take on Crook Town from 6.30pm at the first-team’s Eden Lane ground.

The Russell Foster Youth League Division Two fixture could prove crucial, with Crook top of the table on 40 points, and Shields fourth on 34.

However, the Mariners have two games in hand on their opponents and boast a better goal difference, while they have played six less games than third-placed Brandon and three fewer than second-top Spennymoor Town.

Any support at the game would be welcomed.

By Philip Reay

The Professional Flooring Services-sponsored Shields Under-15s go into the match on the back of a hard-fought two-goal victory over a spirited Chester-le-Street side at a windswept Mortimer CA on Sunday.

The strong wind blowing across the Mortimer pitch was to make flowing football difficult as the game progressed as both sides struggled in the conditions.

It was the visitors who created the first opportunity of the game as Max Wood collected a long ball out of defence and advanced towards goal, but Jack Ramage in the Shields goal came out to challenge Wood, and he fired his shot wide of the post.

The first opportunity for the home side came on six minutes. Alex McBeth was charging towards goal, but his progress was halted on the edge of the box as he was brought down. McBeth picked himself up to take the resulting free-kick, but he fired his shot into the defensive wall and the danger was cleared.

Within a minute, Shields opened up the Chester defence with a superb through ball by Codie Howe. Unfortunately, his pass was slightly over hit, and Chester keeper Marcus Logan was able to pick the ball off the toes of McBeth.

Chester responded instantly as a Logan clearance was picked up by Wood and his pass picked out Adam Storey, but his shot was well saved by Ramage.

As the game approached the quarter-hour, Josh Smith picked up a ball from Edward Gilchrist and rifled a shot at goal from 25 yards that flew inches wide of the upright.

A minute later, Shields again went close as Tom Birkett found McBeth in space, but again the striker was restricted to a long range shot that flew wide.

The Mariners pressure bore fruit on 18 minutes following a good passage of play started by Gilchrist. He found George Daglish on the right flank and he in turn slipped the ball into the path of Scott Rafferty, and he coolly turned away from his marker before slotting the ball past Logan.

Shields had an opportunity to double their advantage a minute later, but again Logan reacted quickly to take the ball off the toes of McBeth.

Despite dominating possession, Shields were unable to take advantage as a determined Chester defence held firm.

Twenty-two minutes into the game, Howe collected the ball inside his own half before racing forward. He brushed aside several challenges before releasing Birkett, and he fired a first time shot at goal that was well saved by Logan.

A minute later, a quick throw in by Rafferty found Smith in space and he in turn found McBeth on the edge of the box, but he curled his shot inches over the bar.

On 25 minutes, Shields were forced into a change as Lewis Slater replaced the injured Daglish.

Chester continued to cause problems for the Shields defence, and again Storey went close, but despite being a spectator for long periods, Ramage was alert to the danger, making a good save.

In the closing stages of the half, neither side was able to create any clear opportunities and the hosts went into the break a goal to the good.

At the start of the second half, Howe again ran at the Chester defence, but again he was denied by a superb diving save from Logan.

A minute later, McBeth attacked the Chester defence on the right flank before crossing the ball into the box where it was met by Smith. Unfortunately, he attended the McBeth School of heading, and the ball flew high over the bar.

From the Chester clearance, the ball fell to Howe on the half way line. He looked up and spotted the keeper off the line and immediately fired the ball at goal, but it also cleared the keeper and flew just over the bar.

Chester defended stoically as Shields ramped up the pressure but were restricted to long range shots, as first Birkett and then McBeth fired shots from beyond the box wide.

On 65 minutes, Chester broke forward and came close to restoring parity. Storey collected the ball on the edge of the box before rifling a shot at goal that was superbly saved by Shields keeper Ramage.

Shields made the game safe within five minutes. Smith turned away from his marker before releasing McBeth, and he rifled a shot at goal that was only parried by Logan, and at the second attempt McBeth swept the ball into the net.

The goal appeared to deflate the visitors, and in the closing stages of the game, but for the efforts of Chester keeper Logan Shields could have increased their advantage, as first Smith and then Howe had shots superbly saved.

At the final whistle, Shields claimed the victory by two goals to nil.