Esh Winning Preview
By Daniel Prince
Jon King has challenged his South Shields side to “kick-start” their season in Tuesday’s Ebac Northern League Division Two game against Esh Winning at Peterlee.
Shields go into the game looking to end a run of 10 matches without a win, and will be up against a side winless in their last 13 fixtures.
Esh are second bottom in the table, but King insists the Mariners will not be taking them lightly at Eden Lane.
He said: “We need to be getting maximum points on Tuesday.
“We’ve been saying for a few weeks that we need to kick-start our season.
“For one reason or another, that hasn’t happened yet.
“If we think that we are just going to turn up and win on Tuesday because we’re above them in the table, though, we will get punished.
“We know we need to start getting more points on the board because the table doesn’t look too good at the moment.
“Two or three wins could put us in and around the top eight, so we need to go on a positive run now.”
Shields were beaten narrowly on Saturday as Alnwick Town ran out 2-1 winners at St James’ Park.
King felt it was a game his side would have won had the likes of Paul Kane, David Molloy and Stephen Ramsey been available, with Shields unable to make the most of the possession they had.
He added: “We dominated possession on Saturday, especially in the second half, but we had to chop and change in the forward areas.
“Again, it was points dropped. If the game was won on possession alone, we would have got the three points, but we didn’t do enough with it.
“If we had the forwards available on Saturday, even just one of the ones that were missing, I think we would have won the game comfortably.
“Alnwick have had some really good results recently and have got a good side together.
“Teams used to go there and expect a result no problem, but they have turned that around.”
King still has full belief in his side, despite the recent run, and has backed them to get back to winning ways soon.
He added: “This is a bit of a bad run, but there have been lots of positives to take within it. We could easily have got points from some of the games.
“I wasn’t getting carried away when we had six wins in a row. Quite a few people were, but I certainly wasn’t.
“If you aren’t right mentally in this league, you will get punished.
“We have missed some key players for large parts of the season so far and the squad has been stretched a lot in the last month.
“I know the squad we have got has a lot of talent and will have no problem getting where we want to be.
“We have got a good young side, and they’re learning.
“We’re going to have lapses at times due to a lack of experience in some areas, but we accept that and will just do all we can to get back to winning ways.”
Goalkeeper Jake Cunningham should be back available for Tuesday’s game, as should Ramsey, Kane and Dan Hall.
Alex Kempster and Molloy will miss the 7.30pm kick-off through injury, although it is hoped the latter will be back for Saturday’s game against Whickham.