Young Mariners taste first defeat in ECFA Premier League
South Shields Academy were beaten 1-0 at Monkseaton Football Academy on Wednesday as their 100% start to the ECFA Category One Premier League season was brought to an end.
The young Mariners were not at their best in the match at Seaton Delaval, and conceded an 89th-minute winner moments after missing a penalty of their own.
One major positive for Shields was the return of Joe Fell, who was brought on as a substitute for the final 30 minutes as he made his first appearance since last September after recovering from injury.
Joint manager Graham Fenton is certain the young team will improve.
He said: “It was a disappointing performance from our academy lads in the ECFA Premier League.
“We were expecting a much better performance, having watched the lads in training on a regular basis over the last few weeks and months.
“For some reason, it just didn’t materialise on the day.
“With having such a young squad, there’s lots of room for improvement, and these lads will definitely improve because of their hunger, desire and good mentality to their football.
“We missed a penalty in the 88th minute and conceded in the 89th.
“Even if we had scored the penalty and won, though, the conversation would have been the same.
“It wasn’t the result which was disappointing – it was the performance.”
Monkseaton’s side was managed by Shields first-team captain Jon Shaw.
Fenton is determined to take the positives out of the game.
He added: “There were some plus points.
“Josh Croft had a strong performance at left-back and helped his chances of being involved in the next FA Youth Cup squad.
“Joe Fell played his first 30 minutes of competitive football since last September.
“It’s great to have him back involved on matchdays.
“He has worked exceptionally hard to get back where he is at this stage, and we’re delighted to have one of our leaders in the group back involved on matchdays.”
SSFC Academy team: Armstrong, Morris, Croft, Elcoate, Wade, Errington, Minchella, Ridley, Green, Ames, Allen. Subs: E Hodgson, Fell, Black, Dunn, Jenkins.