Thursday, 14 September 2017

South Shields FC - Mariners Park

South Shields FC
Mariners Park
Shaftesbury Avenue
South Shields
NE42 9PH

0191 454 7800

Ground Number: 722
Wednesday 13th September 2017
South Shields 9-0 Rochdale
FCYA U19 League


The club was founded in 1974 and spent their first couple of seasons in the Northern Alliance. Joining the Wearside League in 1976, South Shields were champions in their first season and would go on to win the league twice more before taking promotion to the Northern League in 1995. Starting in its second tier, they would finish as runners-up to Morpeth Town in their first season, earning promotion to Division 1 in the process. They'd remain in the top tier until the turn of the century when they were relegated. Despite sorting the club with a new ground just eight years previously, the then chairman John Rundle publically threatened to close the club down if they were relegated, but did not go through with his threat in the end. South Shields would endure a series of mid-table finishes before winning promotion back to Division 1 in 2008, this time as runners-up to Penrith Town. They would remain in the top tier until 2013 when they finished second bottom. They had to spend a couple of seasons playing at Peterlee around this time as the lease on their ground had expired. Thanks to a new committee, the time away was only two seasons and South Shields won promotion back as Northern League Division 2 champions in 2016. This kick started a good last few years for the club, they were Northern D1 champions last season and have made a great start to life in the NPL Division 1 North this term. They currently sit top of the league having won 6 out of their 7 league games so far.

In the FA Cup, the club's best progress came in 1997 when they beat Harrogate Railway, Skelmersdale United and Maine Road before a narrow 3-2 defeat at Gainsborough Trinity in the 3rd Qualifying Round. Many Northern League clubs have enjoyed success in the FA Vase and South Shields are no exception. They lifted the FA Vase last season, beating NCEL champions Cleethorpes Town 4-1 in the final at Wembley Stadium with a huge backing making their way down from the north east. This was part of a historic quadruple with South Shields also lifting the Durham Challenge Cup and the Northern League Cup.


When I was planning a trip up north, I was looking for afternoon games. Last week there were none, but this week there was a lot more choice, thanks to the start of the Conference Youth Alliance. Gateshead were at home, but that would have only been a revisit. A much more attractive option was South Shields. They were playing Rochdale and with it being a new tick for me, it seemed a solid choice. I tweeted the club to confirm that the game was on and received a helpful reply a few minutes later, confirming that the kick off was at 12.30. This would give me plenty of time to get to Darlington after, as well as a chance to walk into town. I was glad to be visiting for a youth team game as huge crowds at first team games would have made it tricky to get pictures of the finer details of the ground.

On the day of the game, I woke around 5.30 am by a noisy person in the room next door. Unable to get back to sleep, I eventually got out of bed a few hours later, checking Twitter before going for a shower. Feeling nice and refreshed, I spent another hour in my room, catching up on my blog. Thanks to a fair few drinks the previous night, I didn't recall a lot about the game at Marske last night, but luckily I had taken notes and also had Twitter to refer to. I was hungry by now and wanted to get something for breakfast, so I left my room at 10 and drove to a nearby Morrisons. I also needed a sweater and had spotted a 'Fruits Of The Loom' one in a nearby shop for £3, so I started to head there. However, on the way, I saw possibly the most random shop ever. As well as selling sofas they also sold random items for a quid. I bought a Borussia Dortmund hoodie and a Bayern Munich hat for the princely sum of £2. After that, I popped into B&M bargains and got some Swedish meatballs for breakfast and drinks for later. Finally, I went to cash converters and got a PES game for the PSP for 50p. After I'd done all this, it was 11.15, so after checking Twitter for any last minute changes, I set my Sat Nav for South Shields.

I arrived at the ground just after 12 and after getting a drink from my boot, I went in. I was pleased that it was free entry, I've spent loads in the last fortnight and my bank balance was looking alarmingly low. I walked around getting pictures of the ground which was a lot better than I expected, it having looked quite basic on highlights videos I'd seen. The ground seemed to be a busy place, in the bar there were a group of local pensioners enjoying the carvery that was based in the club bar. The game kicked off a few minutes late at around 12.35. It was South Shields first ever game in the Conference Youth Alliance and they started well, having a lot of early chances. Both keepers had made good saves by the time Joe Hassanin opened the scoring on 21 minutes. He turned in the box after good set-up play before slotting home from around 10 yards. South Shields continued to dominate and went further ahead thanks to a four goal burst around the 35-minute mark. Firstly William McCamley shot low and saw his shot go on off the post. Then a minute or so later Dan Lowther's shot from the edge of the area evaded the grasp of the Rochdale keeper. On 38 minutes, Lowther made it four with a piledriver into the top right-hand corner before Hassanin got his second and the hosts fifth a minute later.

The Rochdale boss was not happy and he conducted the half time team talk on the pitch, just as the much-hated Alan Smith had done for Wycombe at Walsall back in 1995. It didn't get much better for his team as a few minutes into the second half, it was 6-0. A number of shots were cleared off the line before Michael Colquhoun finally scored from the rebound. It was tipping it down by now, so I took shelter in the stand. Still, the domination continued and it was 7-0 after McCamley completed his brace thanks to a great run and a drilled shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Bradley Allen scored straight from a corner to make it 8-0 on 78 minutes before he got his second goal six minutes later with a lovely curling shot into the top corner to make it nine. From there I headed towards my evening game at Darlington, with plenty of time to spare until kick-off.


MARINERS PARK is a fairly standard ground for this level. Pride of place goes to the main stand which offers an elevated view of the pitch. This has around 350 seats with generous leg room and supporting pillars that fortunately don't get in the way too much. Aside this is a smaller stand with spce for around 150 standing fans. On the other side are three metal 'arena' type stands which offer covered standing for around 400, while the rest of the ground is open. I didn't see much of the facilities, but the bar looked fairly standard and well-kept.


1: Ground facilities & condition (for the level)
Fairly average for this level, well kept (7)

2: Area around the ground (parking, food/drink, public transport)
In the middle of an industrial estate, so parking could be a problem for bigger games, close to a metro station (5)

3: Welcome / Club Friendliness
Didn't really see anyone (6)

4: Value for money

Can't get any better than free (10)

5: Social Media & Website
Well maintained and responsive (8)

6: Programme
N/A (-)

7: Game entertainment

Some good football, but just a little bit one sided (7)

8: Tea Bar

N/A (-)

9: Bar / Clubhouse
Fairly standard (6)

10: Club Shop
N/A (-)



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