Under-18s win 4-0
By Daniel Prince
South Shields Under-18s were in fine form as they swept Ryhope CW aside with a comfortable 4-0 win on Tuesday.
Ben Bayles scored a first half brace, while Dan Pickering and Olly Martin were also on the scoresheet for the young Mariners in the Durham County FA League.
Shields were always on top at Ryhope Recreation Ground, and asserted their dominance from the start.
Jonny Bainbridge fired over within the first two minutes, while a cross from Pickering caused real problems and just cleared the crossbar.
The Mariners continued to press, and Pickering was denied again when his strong 20 yard shot was tipped wide by the home goalkeeper.
From the resulting corner, the ball was cleared as far as Pickering on the edge of the box, and his rasping drive was parried by the goalkeeper, who picked himself up to keep out the rebound from Ryan Bolam.
Bolam was playing his third game in four days, having started for the Shields senior team in the weekend games at Whickham and Esh Winning.
He was in the thick of things on 14 minutes when his in-swinging corner was powerfully headed by Bainbridge, but the ball went over.
Bolam almost gave the young Mariners the lead when he weaved his way through on the inside-left of the box, but his eventual effort was sent just wide.
Shields did not have to wait too much longer to open the scoring, though, and they found the breakthrough in the 31st minute.
A decent move led to the ball breaking for Bayles on the edge of the box, and he powered a left foot shot into the bottom corner.
That opened the floodgates somewhat, and Kevin Bolam’s side looked increasingly threatening with every attack.
Jon Mellish was denied by the home goalkeeper after a strong shot from the left, before Logan Powell went agonisingly close to getting on the scoresheet.
Bolam drifted a fine ball over the top for Powell on the inside-left of the box, and after the striker did brilliantly to beat his man and dribble into the centre, his effort was deflected inches past the post.
Bayles grabbed his second goal eight minutes before half-time with a real poacher’s effort.
The ball was played into the box from the right and delicately touched on by Bolam to Bayles, who volleyed home from close range.
Harry Simpson went close as he drilled a shot wide, while he again narrowly missed after being found by Pickering before Shields did go 3-0 up.
This was the goal of the match as a fine team move led to Bayles slotting a ball through for Pickering on the inside-right of the box, and he produced a fine finish across the goalkeeper to all but seal the points.
Ryhope started the second half strongly, though, and would have immediately got a goal back but for an excellent block by Bainbridge in front of goal.
At the other end, Bainbridge had a header cleared off the line after a scramble from a corner, and he later volleyed over after being found by substitute Martin.
Shields goalkeeper Luke Cowie was well protected by his defence and midfield, but when he was called upon, he performed his duties with distinction, including reading the danger brilliantly to snuff out one Ryhope attack.
The young Mariners had to wait until 13 minutes before the end to slot in their fourth goal, which arrived when Bainbridge pulled the ball back for Martin, who finished coolly from close range.
Shields looked for more goals in the closing stages, but Bainbridge’s shot was held by the goalkeeper and Martin was denied with two more efforts before the referee brought the game to a close.
The result kept the young Mariners sixth in the table, and they are set to face Shildon in their next fixture on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS UNDER-18S: Luke Cowie, Ewan Simpson, Matthew Davidson, Matthew Johnson, Jonny Bainbridge, Harry Simpson, Jon Mellish, Ryan Bolam, Dan Pickering, Logan Powell, Ben Bayles. Subs used: Olly Martin, Jonny Hope, Jamie Simmons, Jake Johns.
Goals: Ben Bayles (31, 37), Dan Pickering (43), Olly Martin (77).