Under-18s finish sixth

South Shields Under-18s secured a creditable sixth position in the Durham County FA League with an entertaining 2-2 draw with Seaham Red Star on Saturday.

The young Mariners – who are in fact an Under-17s side playing a year above themselves – raced into a 2-0 lead early on against Red Star, the unbeaten league champions.

Jon Mellish scored the opening goal at Filtrona Park when he finished off a pass from Olly Martin, and Dan Pickering made it 2-0 after beating the goalkeeper with a one-on-one effort.

Ryan Bolam almost made it three when his effort came back off the crossbar, with he and Mellish particularly impressive out wide.

Seaham battled their way back into the game and earned a point, but Shields could still reflect on a fine campaign.

It was the young Mariners’ first experience in the new competition, and with only five sides finishing ahead of them, they have much to build on for next season.

They will go into the campaign without long-serving coach Kevin Bolam, though, after he took up a new role with Newcastle United.

Dave Simpson has now taken over the coaching of the team, with support from Gavin Bainbridge and Mark Simpson, and secretarial support from Scott Davidson.

South Shields Under-18s line-up against Seaham: Armstrong, Johnson, Marsden, Davidson, E Simpson, Bolam, Bainbridge, H Simpson, Pickering, Mellish, Martin. Subs: Powell, Simmons, Johns.