Under-15s in County Cup success
By Martin Urwin and Philip Reay
Durham County FA Bill Upsall Minor Cup, Sunday 28th September, at Mortimer Community Centre, South Shields.
South Shields FC Under-15s 1 (Alex McBeth 66) Consett Juniors Under-16s 1 (Burns 72) [SSFC w0n 4-2 on penalties AET]
South Shields: Ramage, Rafferty (Capt.), Henderson, Andersen, Hutchinson, McGill, Smith, Slater, Urwin, Howe, McBeth. Subs: Hogg, Orrell
Consett: Ridley, Gibb, Burdis, Peacock, Jefferson, Hutchinson, Story, Little, Leech, Dodds, Burns. Sub: Johnson.
For the second round running, SSFC Under-15s were drawn against opposition from an age group above, but after seeing off Billingham Under-16s with a resounding 5-1 victory in the previous round, Consett were to provide much stiffer opposition.
The visitors, who play in the North Tyneside Pinpoint League, arrived at Mortimer with a formidable record against teams a year below them, as they won their previous game in the competition 12-0 against a side from the Under-15s Russell Foster Premier League.
The game began with the opposition on the attack, and for the first five minutes Shields did well to hold off the ambitious visitors, with Aidan Hutchinson doing particularly well to head away an early Consett corner.
The younger Shields side began to settle, and their passing football had the visitors at times chasing their tails.
Although holding good possession in their own half, the ball was lost when played forward, with the loan Shields striker Alex McBeth working hard against a solid defensive line and often being closed down by three strong defenders.
With the first half entering the closing stages, Shields again opened up the visitors’ defence as Howe and McBeth combined on the right to release the forward, but his shot from the edge of the box flew just over the bar.
A minute later, a flowing move in the centre of the park involving McGill, Urwin and Rafferty ended with the roving wing back firing a shot inches wide of the Consett goal.
In the last action of the half, McGill beat his marker before crossing to Howe, who controlled the ball well before rifling a 20 yard drive that struck the angle of the goal before being hacked clear, meaning the sides going into the break still locked at 0-0.
The Shields half-time team talk centred on the vulnerability of the Consett defence when put under pressure. The home team were also asked to make more use of the space in central areas as the game opened up and the opposition tired.
A couple of substitutions were made as Lewis Orrell replaced the hard-working Urwin in midfield, with Howe being given a breather and replaced by Hogg in the No10 role.
The substitutions paid dividends, as the Mariners again found the opposition struggling to come to terms with their passing game, only to receive a scare when the tricky Consett No9 weaved his way past three defenders before smashing a shot which again struck the bar.
As the game approached the hour mark, Aidan Hutchinson won the ball in the centre of the park and sprayed a pass wide to McGill, who once again outpaced the defence before cutting in towards goal and sending a drive inches wide of the post.
From the restart, Consett broke forward, and despite being under the cosh for most of the game, almost took the lead, but once again Ramage in the Shields goal was on hand to deny the opposition.
From the clearance, Slater found McBeth in space, but he was denied by a fine save by the Consett keeper.
On 66 minutes, the Shields pressure was rewarded as McBeth collected the ball wide on the left before firing the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net.
Although Consett still posed a threat, it was Shields who were playing the better football, but they ended up being caught with a sucker punch as on 72 minutes a through ball bounced unkindly in the Shields box, and was stabbed home by Burns to level the score.
Extra-time saw both teams play with fight and determination to win the game, but after 30 minutes they could not be separated, and despite two great efforts from Howe for the home team, the score at the end of extra-time remained 1-1.
Penalties ensued, and of the four spot kicks taken by Consett, the Shields keeper and outstanding prospect Jack Ramage saved two, showing brilliant anticipation and reactions in the process.
With Scott Rafferty, Lewis Slater, Josh Smith and Alex McBeth all converting, the game ended with the younger Shields lads booking themselves a place in the next round, where once again they will face Under 16 opposition in the form of Norton & Stockton Ancients.