Posts Tagged ‘South Shields’

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.