Match Preview: Atherton Collieries vs South Shields, Evo-Stik North
South Shields travel to Lancashire on Saturday as they take on Atherton Collieries in the Evo-Stik North Division.
The Mariners will be looking for maximum points as they aim to reclaim top spot in the division, which they conceded to Scarborough Athletic last weekend despite a 5-1 victory over Mossley.
That was courtesy of Scarborough’s 7-0 win against Kendal Town, which saw them leapfrog Shields on goals scored, having played two games more.
Things are therefore tight at the top, with every point crucial.
The Mariners are expecting a difficult encounter with an Atherton side which sits 18th in the table, having picked up 21 points from 23 games since winning promotion last season.
Colls put up a strong fight at Mariners Park in November, and it took until the third minute of second half stoppage time for Jamie Holmes to wrap up a 3-1 win for Shields.
Joint manager Graham Fenton insists the league table will count for nothing at the Kensite Stadium as the Mariners go in search of a third consecutive victory.
He said: “There are no easy games, as we’ve seen in this league throughout the season so far.
“We did some good work in training and with the video analysis during the week, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“We have made good progression in our last two games and we’re aiming to do the same again.”
With Shields now at the halfway stage of their league campaign, Fenton is more than satisfied with their performance so far.
He added: “We’re at halfway and other teams are ahead of that, but we’re the only team to have passed 50 points at halfway.
“If we can replicate that in the second half of the season, we’ll be in with a really good chance of winning the league.”
Shields are expected to be without injured Anthony Callaghan and ill Barrie Smith for the 3pm kick-off, although Craig Baxter could return. There is also a doubt over Andrew Stephenson.
The post code of the ground is M46 9EY and all support would be greatly appreciated.
Keep an eye on social media on the morning of the game, as Atherton have advised a pitch inspection will take place at 9am, should the need arise.