Match Preview: Bamber Bridge vs South Shields, The Pitching In Northern Premier League

Match Preview: Bamber Bridge vs South Shields, The Pitching In Northern Premier League

South Shields travel to Bamber Bridge on Tuesday as two of the Pitching In Northern Premier League’s top five go head-to-head.

The Mariners go into the match separated from top spot by goal difference after they extended their unbeaten start to 12 games with a 0-0 draw at Nantwich Town on Saturday.

Tuesday’s hosts, meanwhile, are fifth in the table, 10 points behind Shields with a game in hand.

Shields and Brig were promoted to this division together in 2017-18, and have been involved in a number of tight and entertaining battles over the last four seasons.

Joint assistant manager Jon Shaw – who will lead the Mariners alongside Brian Smith as manager Graham Fenton continues to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test – is expecting another exciting tussle at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

He said: “We’ve never had an easy game against Bamber Bridge and have been involved in some crazy scorelines against them.

“It’s always a great match for the neutral, but probably hasn’t been in the past for the management of the two teams because it often causes some scary moments.

“We’re looking forward to it and will be giving it everything to extend our unbeaten run and try to get top spot back.

“We’ve got to be very wary and expect a tough challenge, which is what you always get from Jamie Milligan’s teams.”

Shields were unable to break down Nantwich on Saturday, but did stretch their unbeaten start to the league campaign to 12 matches with the goalless draw.

Shaw was satisfied with much of the team’s play, but is seeking improvements as they look to return to winning ways.

He added: “We need to up our levels from Saturday and if we perform slightly better on the ball we’ll give ourselves a great chance.

“The lads’ effort levels were brilliant on Saturday and we felt we created enough chances to win, but it was just that little bit of quality that we were missing.

“Physically we’re in good nick, albeit we’re without a few bodies.

“At this stage of the season, going down there and potentially coming away with a point would probably be deemed a good result, but we don’t go into any game looking to draw. We’ll be aiming to win, as we do every game.”

Shields are without midfielder Will Jenkins, who was stretchered off early in Saturday’s game with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.

X-rays later showed Jenkins had not suffered a fracture, but he is not in contention for the match against Brig.

The Mariners will be able to call upon the services of Ntumba Massanka despite the striker receiving a red card in the closing stages at Nantwich. Massanka’s three-match suspension does not begin until Saturday’s home fixture against Basford United.

Shields have no fresh injury concerns heading into Tuesday’s 7.45pm kick-off at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, which has a post code of PR5 6UX.

The last meeting between the sides was in October 2020, with the Mariners running out 3-1 winners in Lancashire.

The gates will open at 6pm on Tuesday and admission prices are £10 for adults, £7 for over-65s, students with valid ID and season ticket holders of any EFL or Premier League club, and £2 for accompanied children aged up to 16 years.

Very limited parking space is available at the ground and if parking in the residential streets around the ground, supporters are asked to be considerate to Bamber Bridge’s neighbours and park legally and safely.

Those who are unable to attend the game will be able to listen to live commentary from Chris May and Ronnie Peet on The Mariners Live Mixlr channel. The commentary can be accessed by clicking here.