South Shields kick-off 2018 with a mouth-watering clash with promotion rivals Scarborough Athletic at Mariners Park on New Year’s Day.
A big crowd is expected as two of the Evo-Stik North Division’s best-performing clubs go head-to-head in the 3pm kick-off.
It will be the third meeting between the sides this season, with the Mariners having come out on top in both the league and Buildbase FA Trophy at the Flamingo Land Stadium earlier in the campaign.
However, they know that they will be in for another tough encounter with Boro, who are third in the table, three points behind Shields having played two games more.
Should he be selected, Shields captain Julio Arca will make his 100th appearance for the club in Monday’s game.
The former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder joined the Mariners in September 2015, and has enjoyed a remarkable time at the club, winning five trophies in the last two-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, Aksel Juul could make his home debut for Shields, having made his first appearance for the club in the away game against Kendal Town on Boxing Day.
That was the Mariners’ second successive draw, having been held by Trafford last time out at Mariners Park as the visitors came from two goals behind.
Shields will be looking to bounce back to winning ways against Scarborough, a team they scored eight goals against in two games earlier this season.
The most recent of those matches came in the FA Trophy in October, as Carl Finnigan scored twice in a 5-2 win for the Mariners.
Should Finnigan repeat that feat on Monday, he will reach the milestone of 50 goals for the club.
Another of Shields’ goalscorers that day, Andrew Stephenson, is expected to miss out because of a hamstring injury, with Robert Briggs also unavailable because of an ankle injury. Graeme Armstrong could return, but Luke Sullivan remains on honeymoon.
Since the last meeting between the clubs, Scarborough have signed striker James Walshaw from Farsley Celtic. Walshaw scored in an FA Trophy tie between Farsley and Shields in October.
Kick-off in Monday’s game is at 3pm, and full season tickets are valid for this fixture. However, those who have bought part-season tickets are advised that they become valid from the match against Mossley on Saturday, January 13.
Otherwise, admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £8 for adults, £6 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.
We’d hugely appreciate your support.
The postponement of Saturday’s game away to Bamber Bridge means that 2017 – surely the greatest year in the club’s history – is now over for South Shields FC.
It has been a remarkable 12 months, with the club enjoying some of its best days in living memory and backed by crowds the size of which have not been seen for generations.
At the tail-end of the 2016-17 season, the Northern League, Durham Challenge Cup, Northern League Cup and FA Vase were all so memorably won as the Mariners secured an incredible quadruple of trophies.
There was also the (unofficial) world-record breaking run of 32 victories in a row, a Mariners Park ground attendance record of 3,464 and, of course, the momentous day at Wembley as the club won the first national trophy in its history.
The statistics of the year tell their own story.
Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side won 51 of their 60 matches, drawing six (one of which ended in a penalty shoot-out victory) and losing just three. The only teams to beat Shields over the year were Colwyn Bay, Hartlepool United and Stafford Rangers.
Across those 60 games, 174 goals were scored – at an average of 2.9 a match – and just 53 were conceded – at just 0.88 goals a game.
Supporters will all have their own opinions on the greatest moment of 2017. There were the memorable FA Vase victories at Morpeth Town and Team Solent, the vital league wins with 10 men at Sunderland RCA and North Shields, the comeback from a 17-point deficit to win the Northern League, the pulsating occasions at Mariners Park as over 3,000 supporters packed in to cheer their team towards Wembley, the victory over Coleshill Town which secured Shields’ place in the FA Vase final, the three cup finals themselves, countless incredible goals, the dramatic FA Cup wins over Darlington and York City. The list could go on and on.
There is no doubt that the fans, too, played a major role in the success of 2017.
At home and away games, their backing was tremendous, and the club would like to say a huge thanks to every single supporter for that. We hope you continue to enjoy following the Mariners in 2018.
Across 29 home games in the last 12 months, 43,091 supporters clicked through the turnstiles at an average of 1,486 a match. Those are remarkable figures and the club would very much like to see them continue to rise in the years ahead.
The club would like to take the opportunity to thank all supporters, volunteers, players, coaching staff, staff members, sponsors and everyone else who has played a part in our remarkable 2017. Here’s hoping there are many more years like it in the future.
We wish everyone great health and happiness heading into 2018.
Club sponsor Westoe Travel has supporters’ coaches running to all upcoming away games.
Places can now be booked for each of the below matches.
Saturday, January 6: Tadcaster Albion vs South Shields (3pm kick off)
The coach will depart from South Shields Town Hall at 11.45am and Mariners Park at 12pm, and a place on it costs £10 for those in the SSFC Members’ Club, £12 for adults, £11.50 for senior citizens and £5 for children aged 16 and under accompanied by an adult.
Saturday, January 20: Atherton Collieries vs South Shields (3pm kick off)
The coach will depart from South Shields Town Hall at 9.45am and Mariners Park at 10am, and a place on it costs £16 for those in the SSFC Members’ Club, £18 for adults and £17.50 for senior citizens and children.
Saturday, February 3: Droylsden vs South Shields (3pm kick-off)
The coach will depart from South Shields Town Hall at 9.30am and Mariners Park at 9.45am, and a place on it costs £16 for those in the SSFC Members’ Club, £19 for adults and £18.50 for senior citizens and children.
Saturday, February 17: Clitheroe vs South Shields (3pm kick off)
The coach will depart from South Shields Town Hall at 9.45am and Mariners Park at 10am, and a place on it costs £15 for those in the SSFC Members’ Club, £18 for adults and £17.50 for senior citizens and children.
Westoe Travel has a special number for supporters travel (0191 455 9175) and will give South Shields FC members a discount on holiday bookings.