Under-15s win 5-1 to move closer to title
Russell Foster Youth League Under-15s Division Two
Tuesday 5th May – Riverside, Chester-Le-Street
St Cuthberts 1 South Shields FC 5
St Cuthberts: Mcanally, Vallance, Stewart, Fairley, Richardson, Edwards, Moran, Mathewson, Llyons, Gallon, Boyle.
Subs: Donkin, Fish.
South Shields: Ramage, Rafferty, (C) McGill, Henderson, Gilchrist, Smith, Howe, Urwin, McBeth, Slater, Birkett.
Goals: Smith, Birkett, McBeth, Urwin (2).
Report by Philip Reay. Featured in main image: Sam Urwin.
The Professional Flooring Services-sponsored South Shields Under-15s maintained their focus as they moved a step closer to the league title with a superb victory over St Cuthberts Under-15s at the Riverside Chester-le-Street on a wet and windy Tuesday night.
The sides were evenly matched in the early stages of the game, with both goalkeepers needing to be alert to prevent their side from going behind.
Both teams were struggling to come to terms with a strong wind blowing across the pitch, but with the game approaching the 15 minute mark South Shields won a series of corners that were taken by Alex McBeth.
The last of the sequence was played short to Scott Rafferty, and he in turn found Sam Urwin in space. Urwin controlled the ball before crossing to Lewis Slater, but his shot was blocked and the danger cleared.
Playing with the advantage of the wind at their back, Shields continued to press forward, and a minute later Slater dispossessed a St Cuthberts defender and released Tom Birkett, but he fired his shot wide of the post.
St Cuthberts were finding it difficult to get the ball into the Shields half, and from a poor clearance from Seth Mcanally, Codie Howe picked the ball up and sent it over the defence for McBeth to run on to, but his shot was well saved by Mcanally.
As the first half approached the midpoint, Howe collected a clearance just inside the St Cuthberts half and fired the shot straight back at goal from all of 40 yards, and with the keeper off his line, the ball flew towards goal, but unfortunately for the Shields striker, it struck the angle of the goal and flew over the bar.
Despite their efforts, Shields were unable to break through a resolute St Cuthberts defence as their attempts on goal were met with a strong blue line, and their only reward a further series of corners.
On 26 minutes, the pressure paid off as Slater crossed the ball to Birkett, and he played the ball to Josh Smith, who, without hesitation, volleyed the ball beyond the reach of Mcanally before nestling in the back of the net.
Within a minute, the young Mariners doubled their advantage, as from the restart Smith became provider. He won the ball on the left and floated it over the defence for McBeth, and he fired in off the underside of the bar.
St Cuthberts responded to going behind as Kieran Donkin had two attempts at goal well saved by Jack Ramage in the Shields goal.
This was to be temporary respite for the home defence, as again Shields pressed forward. Birkett and McBeth combined on the right flank to open up the defence, but Howe saw his shot fly wide of the upright.
Within a minute, the same pairing again opened up the St Cuthberts defence before releasing Slater, but he was denied by a comfortable save by Mcanally.
In the last five minutes of the first half, Shields piled on the pressure. First Smith slipped the ball into the path of McBeth, and he fired a shot towards goal that was deflected for a corner.
Smith then created an opportunity for himself as he won the ball in the centre of the park before firing a 20 yard shot inches wide of the post.
The last action of the half saw McBeth pressurise the St Cuthberts defence, and his pressure allowed Birkett to collect the ball, but his left-footed drive was comfortably saved and the sides went into the break with the Mariners two goals to the good.
St Cuthberts started the second half on the front foot and Donkin raced through the Shields defence, but he didn’t trouble Ramage as the ball flew wide of the post.
Shields reacted to this near miss and again pressed forward. Urwin collected a ball from George Daglish before finding Smith in space, but his shot was deflected for a corner.
The game was then hit by a torrential downpour. At least we knew that we were not to require the services of my old friend Noah and his Ark, as a magnificent rainbow signalled that the rain would soon stop. Fortunately for the match reporter, there was little action to report as the notebook took refuge up his shirt, and the action came off the pitch as the wind turned Stuart’s umbrella inside out and ripped the skin from the spokes.
Ten minutes into the second period, Liam Simpson McGill and Smith combined on the left before Smith cut in towards goal, but his shot flew over the bar.
From the restart, Shields retrieved the ball, and a Howe shot was deflected for a corner. McBeth played the ball over the defence where it was collected by Simpson McGill, who returned the ball to McBeth, but he didn’t trouble the keeper with his shot.
As the hour mark approached, Slater played the ball through the St Cuthberts defence for Birkett, and he made no mistake, firing the ball beyond the keeper into the corner of the net to put the Mariners three goals to the good.
Against the run of play, St Cuthberts pulled a goal back as Donkin lofted a cross come shot from the right of the goal, and the ball ballooned over Ramage and into the Shields goal.
From the restart, Shields restored their three-goal cushion. Slater had a shot parried by Mcanally, and Urwin reacted quickest to fire in from close range.
The game became entrenched in a battle in the centre of the park, with neither side able to trouble the opposition keeper until the game approached the 75th minute.
Shields won a corner on the left, and Urwin quickly played the ball to Simpson McGill, who returned the ball to Urwin, and he beat his marker as he cut towards goal. From an acute angle, he fired the ball across the face of the goal and high into the net on the far right to give Shields a four-goal advantage.
A minute later, Urwin had an opportunity to complete a hat-trick as he collected a ball from McBeth, but his shot was well saved.
Following a brief stoppage following an injury to the opposition keeper, the game got back underway, but there was no further goalmouth action and the referee brought the game to an end.
The final whistle also signalled a race by the assembled parents for the warmth and dryness of the awaiting cars.
Sadly, due to a lack of coins for the parking metre, my race to the car was a little further than most; Ten minutes after the whistle, I eventually reached my car soaked through, but much heartened by another superb performance that moves us closer to the league title.