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FA Youth Cup: AFC Liverpool 0-2 South Shields

Second half goals from Alex Thompson and Fin Neary settled a testing tie with AFC Liverpool as South Shields booked their place in the first round of the FA Youth Cup for the fourth time in five seasons on Merseyside.

The hosts proved strong opponents and caused the young Mariners a number of problems, particularly in the first half.

Kyle Seymour made a superb save from the penalty spot as AFC Liverpool were unable to find the breakthrough, and Shields capitalised after the break as Thompson put them in front on 55 minutes before Neary sealed their victory with a goal 13 minutes before the end.

The Mariners hit the woodwork four times as they were denied a more comfortable scoreline, but they will have been more than happy with their night’s work.

Shields almost took the lead in innocuous circumstances in the third minute as Leon Bell lofted in a cross from the right which caused confusion and struck the top of the crossbar.

Bryan Taylor had an early effort from distance for the Mariners as he cut across the ball, but his strike drifted past the post.

Neither side was able to establish control in the early stages and AFC Liverpool had sights of goal themselves, one of which saw Ellis Carroll fire wide from 20 yards after the ball was worked inside from the right.

Shields survived a major scare just after 20 minutes when the hosts were awarded a penalty and Luke Porter stepped up, but his spot-kick was parried to safety by Seymour in the Mariners’ goal as he guessed the right way and made the save.

Seymour was at the heart of the action again on the half-hour mark when he raced out of his goal to deny Josh Miles a strike on goal, but his challenge on the AFC Liverpool forward was judged to be a foul and the goalkeeper saw yellow.

The home team were enjoying a fine spell and they had another decent chance when Miles received the ball on the right of the box and drilled a low effort which was blocked by Noah Farrington.

Shields will have been pleased to have the opportunity to regroup at half-time, and they made a change at the break as Olly Cresdee replaced Bell.

They started the second half brightly and created their best chance of the game to that point on 50 minutes when Sam Porthouse was played in down the left of the area, but his shot was off target.

Porthouse went closer still in the next attack when he was found by Dan Hegarty and raced in behind on the right before rifling an effort which smashed against the underside of the bar and bounced just the wrong side of the line.

Shields were rewarded for their period of pressure in the 55th minute when a superb cross from the left by Taylor found Thompson and he took a touch to steady himself before rolling the ball home.

They almost made it a quickfire double when Thompson turned provider for Cresdee and he whistled a strike just past the post from the right of the area.

Thompson was the next to go close as he was picked out by a fine low cross by James Thew, but the forward was on the stretch and could only turn it wide.

Cresdee had made a brilliant impact from the bench and he skipped past two challenges before sending in a fine cross which Neary turned over on the half volley.

AFC Liverpool retained their spirit and looked certain to equalise when Porter danced into some space in the area, but Seymour spread himself and made a terrific save as he tipped the ball wide.

It proved to be a key moment as Shields quickly seized back control and doubled their advantage on 77 minutes with an excellent half volley from Neary which flew into the bottom corner, moments after George McArthur had crashed the ball against the crossbar.

Thompson thought he had added a third soon after when he was found by a low cross from the right and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way, but his shot came back off the post.

The advantage remained at two goals and that was more than enough in the end for the young Mariners as they were rewarded for their excellent second half response.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Seymour, Hegarty, Taylor, Neary, Marriott (c), Farrington, Bell (Cresdee 46), Smith, Thompson, Thew (Duffy 60), Porthouse (McArthur 72). Subs not used: Campbell, Errington, Fletcher, Rhodes.

Goals: Thompson (55), Neary (77).

Attendance: 329.


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