South Shields regained the Sam Bartram Cup on Saturday as a Jon Shaw hat-trick helped them to a comfortable 5-2 win over Boldon CA.
However, assistant manager Lee Picton insists there is plenty to work on for the Mariners ahead of Saturday’s opening competitive game of the season, an FA Cup tie away to Marske United.
Shields always looked too strong for a valiant Boldon side, with former Blackburn Rovers Under-21s captain David Carson also on the scoresheet, just hours after completing his move to the club.
Julio Arca scored the other goal with a stunning free-kick, while Jack Young and Liam Cox were on the scoresheet for the Wearside League hosts.
The Mariners finished pre-season with five consecutive victories, and 19 goals in their last four games, but Picton says there is plenty of work to do on the training field ahead of the tough trip to Marske.
He said: “The result was good, and we won the cup, but ultimately I was a little bit disappointed with the performance.
“To have a midweek without a game is a bonus from my perspective, because I’ve got lots of work to do on my front, and so have the boys.
“We still showed at times that we’ve got a huge amount of quality, and that we’ll be a match for any side this season.
“We’ve just got to get back to basics this week and iron a few things out, and hopefully hit the ground running on Saturday.”
Shields will have been delighted with the performance of former Gateshead frontman Shaw, who scored three poacher’s efforts and claimed the man of the match award.
Home goalkeeper Brett Wilson put in a superb performance to keep the score down, making a string of impressive saves, but ultimately could do nothing to stop Shaw.
The goals of the game, though, were scored by Arca, Carson and Cox.
Arca got the ball up and over the wall before finding the bottom corner with a sublime free-kick, while Carson danced his way through several challenges before beating Wilson.
Young had earlier got on the scoresheet for Boldon as he dinked the ball over Shields goalkeeper Joss Carmichael, while Cox more than matched Arca’s free-kick with one of his own as he rattled it into the net from the edge of the box.
The game had started in bizarre circumstances, with the officials failing to attend the Villa.
It eventually kicked off more than 30 minutes late, with Shields physio Andy Morris taking to the middle, while a replacement linesman and a Boldon substitute were his assistants.
When it did get underway, the strong crowd present were treated to an entertaining match, with Shaw the star turn.
He was delighted to end pre-season on a high.
The striker – who joined Shields this summer after a 13-year professional career – said: “It’s strange being a part-time player in pre-season.
“I’m used to being in every day, but we’ve had a few good games and done well.
“The way we want to play is there for everyone to see, and I’ve grabbed a few goals. To finish with the win and a hat-trick is great.”
Shaw is confident the squad built at Mariners Park is well-equipped for the challenges ahead after a pre-season which saw them pick up six wins and a draw from eight games.
He added: “It’s a great group of lads. We’ve got a few lads that I know from previous clubs and there are a few lads I had never met before.
“They’re a great bunch and we get on really well, and I think that shows.
“We’re not afraid to go in at half-time and say, ‘that’s not good enough, we need to pick it up’. That bodes well going into the season.”
Seats on a Shields supporters’ coach to Marske on Saturday are selling well at a cost of £7 for those in the Members’ Club, and £10 for non-members. The Members’ Club costs £5 for adults to join for the season, and £3 for children, with a range of other benefits.
The bus will depart Mariners Park at 1pm, with the ground to be open from 11am. To book a place on the coach and/or the Members’ Club, call 0191 454 7800 or visit the ground.
BOLDON CA: Wilson, Williams, Lawton, Gage, Burn, Carroll, Graham, Nolan, Tate, Young, Pickering. Subs (from): Cox, Mossa, Logan, Evans, Dixon.
Goals: Young (45+1), Cox (89).
SOUTH SHIELDS: Carmichael (Elliott 61), Baxter (Morse 80), Turner, Morse (Storey 61), Riding (Danny Carson 45), Briggs (David Carson 46), Smith, Scroggins (c) (Arca 46), Shaw, Byrne (Finnigan 46), Foley.
Goals: Shaw (20, 36, 58), Arca (68), David Carson (83).