Callum Stead heads to Tyneside after shock departure from Hitchin Town

Callum Stead has left Top Field after make a shock move to Northern Premier League South Shields from Hitchin Town.

Callum Stead has left Top Field after make a shock move to Northern Premier League South Shields from Hitchin Town. - Credit: PETER ELSE

Hitchin Town will be on the lookout for a new talisman after fan favourite Callum Stead made a shock move to the north east.

The Canaries forward has signed for South Shields, currently flying high at the top of the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

It ends an all too-brief stay at Top Field that was heavily impacted by the pandemic but one which will last long in the memories of the Hitchin fans.

In a statement, the club said: "We can confirm that striker Callum Stead has accepted an offer to join Northern League Premier Division side South Shields on a non-contract deal.

"Whilst Callum has quickly become a fans favourite during his time at Top Field, both the financial package and the opportunity of full-time football were things we are unable to compete with as a club.

"We thank Callum for his time with Hitchin Town and will fondly remember his scary-quick pace and finishing abilities, and wish him all the best for the future."

Speaking to the Mariners' website, the 21-year-old forward said: "This is a great opportunity for me and I’m excited to be here.

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“It’s a new challenge which I’m really looking forward to because I want to help the team achieve its goals.

“The club is on the up and it felt right from the moment signing here was a possibility."

His new boss is the former Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa striker Graham Fenton.

He said: "From what we have seen and heard about him, Callum is a natural goalscorer, hence his impressive figures so far this season with Hitchin Town.

“He will provide us with more competition at the top end of the pitch, which can only be healthy for the squad.

“We’re looking for everyone in those positions to keep pushing each other to higher standards, and an addition like this is sure to help strengthen that."

Stead's last game in a yellow shirt was on Saturday as Hitchin crashed out of the FA Cup with a 3-0 defeat at home to Cheshunt.

They were still in the contest at the break but two goals from Zack Newton in the opening five minutes of the second half and one for Ken Charles late on, ended Hitchin's dreams of further advancement.

Baldock Town also saw their FA Cup journey come to an end but only after a brave fight away to Wingate & Finchley.

They too lost 3-0 but the home side, who play two divisions higher than the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division Reds, were indebted to two goals in the final 10 minutes to ease their passage.

Baldock can still be proud of this run which saw them shock Grays Athletic and Wisbech Town, both one level higher in the pyramid.

Arlesey Town suffered a 6-2 defeat at home to Harefield United but Stotfold got six without reply against Irchester United.

Cody-Lee Spavins got two while there was one each for Louis Woodley, Joseph Ryan and Temi Akinbusoye plus an own goal as the Eagles made it eight wins from eight in Division One.