Jon King praises South Shields players after ending season on a high

STOKED ... James Talbot in action against Stokesley. Pic: Peter Talbot
STOKED ... James Talbot in action against Stokesley. Pic: Peter Talbot

JON King praised the efforts of his South Shields players after they ended the season with a fourth consecutive victory on Friday.

The Mariners scored twice late on as they came from behind to beat Stokesley 3-1 at Peterlee, securing 15th place in Northern League Division Two.

The campaign was one of highs and lows for Shields, who were as high as third in the table in mid-September before slipping away and then picking up form again late in the season.

They also reached the semi-finals of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup, but King felt it was the mid-season form which denied the Mariners a place in the top half.

The Shields manager said: “The lads gave me everything over the season.

“We had an excellent start and an up and down end, but we had a really bad run in the middle of the season which probably cost us a place in the top half.

“We had some ups and some downs, but to finish the season with four wins on the spin was great.

“We got the goal difference into the plus and finished with more points than last season, so there has been improvement, and that’s all you can ask.

“Hopefully we’ll kick on again next season and improve further.”

Shields were a goal behind to Stokesley at half-time, but Ben Riding levelled within three minutes of the restart.

Chris Rue headed in Ryan Bolam’s late free-kick to put the Mariners ahead, and Barrie Smith completed the scoring in second half stoppage time to secure the three points.

King added: “In the first half, we didn’t play well at all, but there was a great improvement after half-time.

“The lads showed good character and did what we asked in the second half, and we could have scored more than the three goals we got.

“We got the win to make it four on the spin, which is the target I set the lads about three or four weeks ago, so I take my hat off to them.

“We had been frustrated for much of the second half as we created lots of chances without going into the lead, but full credit to the lads as they kept going to the end and got their rewards.”

The club is holding its end-of-season presentation night on Saturday at The Mile bar, in Brigham Place, off Mile End Road, South Shields.

There will be entertainment, a raffle and a buffet, and it gets under way at 7.30pm, with tickets costing £2. To book, call 07920 554377.

n Elsewhere in Division Two, Hebburn Town finished in fifth after a 3-1 win over Billingham Town.