Under-15s progress in County Cup
By Philip Reay
Under-16s Durham County Cup second round, Sunday October 26, Brinkburn Recreation Ground.
South Shields Under-15s: Ramage, Rafferty (Capt), Simpson McGill, Urwin, Gilchrist, Andersen, Harrison, Howe, Hogg, Slater, Hutchinson. Subs: Daglish, Orrell.
Scorers: Hogg, Slater, Rafferty.
Norton & Stockton Ancients Under-16s: Harmer, Binks, Gray, Berryman, Walmsley, McClusky, Cornwell, Laud, Wilkie, Beck, White. Subs: Christie, McArthur.
The Professional Flooring Services-sponsored South Shields Under-15s progressed in the County Cup with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Norton and Stockton at Brinkburn Recreation Ground on Sunday.
Playing with a gusting wind at their back, the Shields side attacked from the kick-off, and inside the first minute a Lewis Slater corner was met by Aidan Hutchinson, but the defender headed the ball just over the bar.
The young Mariners maintained the pressure on the Norton defence, winning a series of corners, but they were unable to capitalise as first Codie Howe and then Sam Harrison had shots blocked by Norton defenders.
As the game approached the five-minute mark, Howe fired a shot at goal from the angle of the box that David Harmer was only able to turn round the post for a corner.
Slater floated the ball into the box and once again Hutchinson rose above the defence, but again his effort flew just wide of the upright.
Norton were finding it difficult to clear their lines as they faced a strong wind, and on eight minutes Scott Rafferty released Harrison.
Harrison brushed aside the challenge of the Norton defence before rifling a shot at goal that Harmer turned round the post.
As the game approached the 10 minute mark, Howe collected the ball in a central position and fired a 25 yard shot towards goal that was deflected for a corner.
On the quarter-hour, the Shields pressure was rewarded as Harrison slipped the ball through the Norton defence for James Hogg, and he made no mistake as he drove the ball beyond the dive of Harmer to put the Mariners a goal to the good.
From the restart, Shields again won possession and pressed forward as Harrison brushed aside the challenge of two defenders before driving the ball towards goal, only to be denied by a fine save by Harmer.
At the midpoint of the half, Howe won the ball in the centre of the park and sent a 25 yard shot at goal that was well saved by Harmer in the Norton goal.
The strong wind made flowing football difficult, with both sides struggling to retain possession for any length of time.
With the first half entering the closing stages, Liam Simpson McGill attacked the Norton defence on the left flank, but his shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Harmer and the sides went into the break with Shields holding a single goal advantage.
At the start of the second half, the Mariners again pressed forward, and a Hogg shot was deflected for a corner.
Slater floated the resulting corner into the box and keeper Harmer reacted quickest to punch the ball clear, but only as far as Harrison on the edge of the box. His first time shot flew wide of the post.
Playing into the wind, Shields continued to pressurise the Norton defence, and five minutes into the half they were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
Howe stepped forward and fired the ball towards goal, and with the keeper beaten, he was denied as the ball struck the crossbar before being hacked clear.
Despite continuing to dominate the game, Shields were finding it difficult to create any clear cut chances as the Norton defence held firm.
With the hour mark approaching, Howe drove towards goal before sending a ball across the box for Harrison, but the Shields striker fired his shot wide of the upright.
From the restart, Norton broke forward, and having been a spectator for most of the game, Jack Ramage had to be alert to deny Brandon Wilkie.
Shields again pressed forward. Liam Andersen played the ball to Simpson McGill and he in turn found Harrison in space.
Harrison turned his marker before rifling a shot at goal that was well saved by Harmer.
From the clearance, Norton again broke forward through Wilkie, but once again he was denied by a good save by Ramage.
From Ramage’s clearance, Shields broke forward and a good move involving McGill, Gilchrist and Andersen ended when Harrison had a shot well saved by Harmer.
With eight minutes remaining in the game, the Shields pressure bore fruit. Slater collected the ball on the left and chipped the ball cleverly over the head of the advancing keeper to double the Mariners’ advantage.
The second goal deflated the visitors, and Shields continued to dominate the game.
With the game entering the closing stages, George Daglish found Rafferty on the right, and with a flick off the side of his left foot, he floated the ball over the keeper to give Shields a 3-0 victory and passage into the next round of the cup.