Match Preview: Newton Aycliffe vs South Shields, pre-season friendly
South Shields begin their pre-season programme as they travel to Northern League side Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday (7.30pm kick-off).
Supporters will be able to watch the Mariners in action for the first time since last December after seven months of inaction because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is the first of eight friendly matches scheduled ahead of the start of the Pitching In Northern Premier League season, and gives fans the opportunity to catch a first glimpse of summer arrivals Conor Tee and Ntumba Massanka in a Shields shirt.
Graham Fenton’s side will wear their new Nike home strip during Tuesday’s game against a Newton Aycliffe side which kicked off their pre-season campaign with a spirited 3-1 defeat against National League North’s Spennymoor Town in late-June.
Fenton said: “This is a game we’ve been really looking forward to.
“It has been a long time since we played a game in front of supporters and the lads are absolutely raring to go, which I’m sure Newton Aycliffe’s players will be too.
“Football is completely different when it’s not played in front of supporters and we’ve seen the impact crowds can make in the European Championships.
“It’s going to be excellent to play in front of them again and it makes this match a real occasion for us.”
Fenton has indicated that Shields intend to make full use of their squad – which may be bolstered by a handful of trialists – in their pre-season opener as the players begin to develop their match fitness.
He added: “These games are all about building match sharpness.
“You can train as much as you want, but there’s nothing quite like game-time to get ready for the season.
“You have to be careful not to give players too many minutes too early in pre-season, because it has been a long time since they played 90 minutes.
“We’ll have to build up their game-time as pre-season progresses and we get towards the start of the league campaign.”
Newton Aycliffe started last season promisingly and were fifth in Northern League Division One when the campaign was brought to a premature close.
Colin Stromsoy’s team begin their league season on July 31st and are two weeks ahead of Shields in their preparations, with Fenton expecting a significant test at the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium.
He said: “Newton Aycliffe usually play decent football so we’ve expecting a very good game.
“They’ll certainly be highly motivated and not want to lose.
“The tougher the test, the better for us.
“Newton Aycliffe were doing well in the Northern League before last season was brought to an end, and I’m sure they’ll provide a real challenge for us.”
Admission for the match is priced at £7 for adults and £5 for concessions, which is payable at the turnstiles.
Card and cash payments will be accepted but those paying cash are requested to bring the correct change to minimise cash handling.
The Sports Club bar at the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium will be open from 6pm and the post code of the ground is DL5 5AG.
Team news and match updates will be provided on the club’s Twitter account from 6.30pm.