Youngsters earn thrilling FA Youth Cup win with superb comeback

South Shields booked their place in the first qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday with a terrific 4-3 win at Stockton Town.

The young Mariners came from 2-0 and 3-2 behind to get the better of Stockton in the seven-goal thriller at the Coverall Stadium.

A tie against Spennymoor Town at Mariners Park awaits Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s youngsters after they showed tremendous character to win on Teesside.

They got off to the worst possible start as they fell behind in the first minute.

Jayden Gray was played in on goal for the hosts and finished coolly to put Shields on the back foot.

Stockton’s fast start continued when Michael Davis’ cross from the left found Joe Smith, but he could not get his effort on target.

The Mariners grew into the game and had a good chance to level when Dom Minchella was played into a shooting position, but Jack McCall kept out his shot.

Shields started to control possession and some fine patterns of play offered real hope that they would draw back on level terms.

Michael Colquhoun was at the heart of many of their best moves and he looked certain to score when he went one-on-one with McCall, before he appeared to be tripped by the goalkeeper. Referee Matthew Carroll waved away the appeals, though, and it looked like that decision could prove crucial.

Stockton countered and won a free-kick 25 yards from goal which Gray struck brilliantly to double their advantage.

At 2-0 behind, it was set to be a huge test of the young Mariners’ character. They passed it with flying colours.

If anything, the second Stockton goal seemed to spur Shields on even more, and they deservedly pulled a goal back in the 27th minute when Will McCamley was played in on goal before he rounded McCall and finished well.

The Mariners enjoyed a dominant spell and got their reward five minutes into the second half.

Despite being outnumbered, Colquhoun showed superb strength and composure to beat his man on the edge of the box before firing a low effort which McCall could not keep out.

Most observers would have predicted a victory for Shields at that stage, but the Anchors fought back and retook the lead soon after.

A free-kick from Brad Marron was headed in by Mitchell Wilson as the hosts showed impressive character of their own.

Again, though, Shields were not to be denied.

Jordan Patterson twice went close to equalising – heading one opportunity just wide and another against the crossbar – before Colquhoun netted again as he showed more good strength before finishing well.

Substitute Stephen Black almost put Shields into the lead for the first time with 20 minutes left when he arrowed a stunning effort from 25 yards which came back off the bar.

The pressure was building and Shields got their reward in the 79th minute when a Bailey Judson free-kick was parried by McCall to Sam Hodgson, who forced it into the net.

The Mariners saw out the victory well to claim their place in the next round, when they will host Spennymoor Town at Mariners Park on a date yet to be confirmed.

SOUTH SHIELDS: E Hodgson, Yembe, Scott, Carney, Patterson (c), Lockey, McCamley, Ridley (Black 55), M Colquhoun, Minchella (S Hodgson 46), Judson (Morris 82). Subs not used: Wade, Green.

Goals: McCamley (27), Colquhoun (50, 67), S Hodgson (79).