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Match Preview: Colwyn Bay vs South Shields, EVO-STIK North

South Shields are looking to continue their excellent start to life in EVO-STIK North when they make the long trip to Colwyn Bay on Saturday.

The Mariners have won all five of their league games so far to put them top of the early standings.

Saturday’s visit to North Wales will see them come up against one of the league’s early draw specialists, with the Seagulls having been involved in four stalemates so far.

They are, though, unbeaten, and will be hoping to move up towards the play-off places with a victory over Shields. They currently sit 10th, and most recently drew 0-0 at Trafford on Tuesday.

The Mariners made it five wins from five this season – and seven out of seven in all competitions – on Tuesday with a 3-1 success against Ossett Albion at Mariners Park.

There is still a feeling that their best from is yet to come, and they will be hoping to fire on all cylinders at Llanelian Road and extend their lead at the top of the table.

Jamie Holmes.

Jamie Holmes.

Forward Jamie Holmes will be aiming to continue his excellent week, having scored twice in the Emirates FA Cup win at Witton Albion on Saturday, before another brace against Ossett Albion on Tuesday.

His performance in the 3-1 midweek win earned the former Newcastle United youngster much praise from joint manager Lee Picton.

He said: “Jamie was absolutely outstanding in the second half on Tuesday and gave us exactly what we needed.

“His finishes were absolutely brilliant. He nestled both of them right in the bottom corner and gave the goalkeeper no chance.

“He showed a great level of hunger and desire out of possession as well.

“If you’re playing in a team that has got somebody doing that at the top end of the pitch, it should give people the desire and encouragement to follow suit and match those standards being set.”

The 440-mile round trip will be Shields’ longest in the league this season, and presents an extra challenge for the players and management.

Having emerged victorious on all three of their lengthy journeys so far this term, though, Picton is confident the Mariners are adapting fast to life at a new level.

He added: “Saturday’s game is going to be really tough in more than one sense.

“It’s our longest away trip, which in itself is going to be difficult to deal with, and Colwyn Bay are unbeaten too, so we’re expecting a big test.

Barrie Smith

Barrie Smith

“Hopefully we’ve learned from the trip at Witton Albion last weekend, and that will hold us in good stead at Colwyn Bay.”

Barrie Smith is welcomed back into contention for the Mariners after he missed the last two games due to holiday commitments.

Colwyn Bay, meanwhile, will be without Gaz Grant and Kyle Jacobs, but Sam Barnes is expected to return after missing the draw at Trafford.

Admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £10 for adults, £6 for concessions, £3 for those aged 16 to 18, and £1 for under-16s. There will be no segregation in force at this fixture.

The post code of the Four Crosses Construction Arena, on Llanelian Road, Old Colwyn, is LL29 8UN, and kick-off is at 3pm.

For any late places on supporters’ coaches, please contact Westoe Travel on 0191 455 2292 or the Simonside Branch on 07706 517010.

IMAGES: Kev Wilson.