Posts Tagged ‘FA Youth Cup’

South Shields U18 v Stockton Town U18, Friday 1st October 2021, 7.30pm

October 13, 2021

After my visit to North Shields four days earlier for an FA Youth Cup tie, it fell to South Shields to provide my Friday evening entertainment in the same competition. As an added bonus, Stockton Town provided the opposition and as my parents have been shelling out a tenner a month for years to support ‘the young lads football’ in the Stockton Town monthly draw I was keen to see if their money had been well-spent.

Mariners Park, or the 1st Cloud Arena as it is now known, is situated in an industrial estate. If there was any club parking it was full by the time I arrived and so I dumped the car a couple of hundred yards away. It was three quid admission which is a pound cheaper than neighbours North Shields. Immediately as I went in I saw the new stand that is being constructed along the length of one of the sides of the pitch. It’s an impressive show of ambition from a club in the seventh tier of English football and that only six years ago were in the tenth tier Second Division of the Northern League. The ambition was supported by around three-hundred and fifty fans turning out. That’s an impressive attendance at this level in adult football, never mind under eighteens.

The new stand will give South Shields decent facilities on all four sides of the ground. There’s covered standing behind both goals and a combined standing and seating covered stand along the other side of the pitch. I chose to sit and although there were stanchions holding up the roof I got a good view of both goalmouths.

South Shields were wearing a Burnley style kit with Stockton in their regular yellow and blue. The hosts looked the better side early on, keeping possession well and playing mainly in Stockton’s half. They made their dominance count and by half time were two up. I thought the Stockton keeper was a bit jittery but to be fair, he wasn’t at fault for either of the goals and he made a couple of good saves to keep his side in it.

At half-time I got myself pie and chips and a coke in a pint beaker that you paid a pound for and could either return to get your pound back or keep. I’m a sucker for things like this. I’ve a cupboard full of plastic beakers from the last couple of World Cups and a commemorative South Shields version has now joined them.

Stockton got back into the game with a great strike that was just too high for a keeper a fraction off his line. They then levelled before South Shields regained the lead. The big talking point, or whinging point, came when Stockton made it three each. The goal came from a penalty awarded after the striker was fouled but chose not to go to ground and instead tried and failed to round the keeper. The ref called play back and awarded the pen. Brilliant. Or ‘disgusting’ and ‘disgraceful’ according to the home fans nearby. Why should a player have to go down to ‘win’ a pen?

Shields weren’t to be denied though and hit back with a fourth and winning goal.

North Shields U18 v Morpeth Town U18, Monday 27th September 2021, 7pm

October 7, 2021

I’ve no recollection of ever having been to the Tynemouth area, other than to the Wet and Wild swimming centre when my kids were small. When looking for the Daren Persson Stadium online I noticed a beach and a castle nearby so Jen and I set early to have a pre-match wander around.

We parked up near the Aquarium and went down onto the beach. Despite the cold there were a few people around. Most of those who ventured into the water were in wetsuits but a few teenagers were braving it in shorts. We had the dog with us, as did a few other people, and it was only when we were leaving the sand that we noticed a sign prohibiting dogs until the first of October. I doubt the enforcement officers will read this, so we’ve probably got away with it.

At one end of the beach is Tynemouth Priory and Castle. It was shut by the time we arrived so we could only view it from outside. I keep meaning to rejoin English Heritage and when I get around to it we’ll probably pay a return visit, perhaps tied in with a game at nearby Cullercoats.

The game that we were attending was in the FA Youth Cup between North Shields U18 and Morpeth Town U18. We paid four quid to get in which struck me as high for a kids match, but I don’t suppose you get much for that these days. I looked at going to the cinema the other day and tickets were fifteen quid. That was just for regular seats. Add in a similar amount for drinks and snacks and a trip to the pictures makes four quid for football seem like a bargain.

We took seats in the covered seated stand. It was only later that I noticed that we were sat in the area reserved for visiting officials. As with the beach, I’m not one to deliberately flout the rules, but I find I’m getting less and less observant these days.

North Shields were in yellow and green with Morpeth in light and dark blue. There was an early goal from North Shields and a prompt equalizer from the visitors but after that North Shields took control and rattled in goals at a steady rate.

At half-time I went into the club house for a cup of tea. There wasn’t any food although I could see a stack of pre-cut buns through the kitchen doorway. At least at the pictures I could have had an over-priced and under-cooked Westlers.

There was something on the wall telling me that Malcolm MacDonald was the North Shields President. I didn’t see him around, although he may very well have been stood nearby for all I tend to notice.

The second half was more of the same with the Morpeth defence failing to pick people up and being punished for it. Their number four looked a decent player who tried to make things happen but in the absence of support from his team mates he would invariably hang on to the ball for longer than he should have and end up conceding possession.

The game finished six-one and so North Shields progressed to the next round.