Boss Picton proud of South Shields' Vase heroes
South Shields boss Lee Picton said he was as proud of the way his side bounced back from a controversial few days to progress in the FA Vase.
The Mariners dismantled holders Morpeth Town to make the most of their second chance by winning their rearranged tie 4-0 last night.
Shields had trailed 4-2 in the original fixture on Saturday when the floodlights failed, causing the game to be abandoned with just eight minutes left.
The Football Association ordered a replay despite protests from Morpeth, with both clubs issuing statements defending their actions as the situation threatened to get bitter.
The replay was supposed to take place at Mariners Park, but with Shields still unable to fix their generator, it was switched to Morpeth’s Craik Park just hours before kick-off.
Shields, however, made light of this to storm into the fifth round thanks to a brace each from strikers Gavin Cogdon and David Foley.
And joint manager Picton praised the way the players and staff had focused on the job in hand.
He said: “There will be lot made about what went on before tonight, but I just want to talk about the game and to a man we were different class
“Every single person stepped up to the plate and we all together showed what we’re capable of.
“I’m just particularly proud of how, despite everything else that’s been going on, how we’ve prepared over the last two or three days and as a whole team, as a management team, as a squad, backroom staff, how that was executed tonight.
“I’m probably as proud as I have been all season.”
Shields weathered an early barrage by Morpeth to score twice inside the first 12 minutes, with strike duo Cogdon and Foley both on target.
The pacy pair justified their selection, with Carl Finnigan dropping to the bench, as they terrorised the Morpeth back four.
Picton added: “We changed the shape also.
“We’ve been here before this season and it’s a really big pitch.
“We just felt like loading the top end with as much pace as we could and try to hurt them with that pace and get at their back four.
“It worked really well but the lads up front only got those opportunities because of the eight or nine lads behind them.”
Cogdon was the stand-out performer, with the former Spennymoor striker’s brilliant solo goal on the stroke of half-time virtually killing the tie off.
The little frontman is back in the fold after a lengthy injury absence, and showed just what the team has been missing.
Picton said: “A lot of people forget that the run we’ve been on as a side has been despite being without a lot of big players at this football club.
“We’ve been unlucky with the number and seriousness of the injuries.
“Gavin gave everyone a taste of what we’ve missed over the last two or three months.”
Shields now face a long trip to the south coast to take on Team Solent in the fifth round.
Meanwhile, the Mariners were drawn at home to Hartlepool United in the quarter-final of the Durham Challenge Cup.