Match Preview: South Shields vs Buxton, BetVictor Northern Premier Division
Buxton are the visitors to Mariners Park on Saturday as league leaders South Shields look to build on last weekend’s win at Grantham Town.
The Mariners are four points clear at the top of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division and know the importance of picking up maximum points against their Derbyshire-based opponents.
Last Saturday’s 3-1 victory at Grantham installed added confidence into the Shields camp and they will be looking to use that to their advantage against Buxton.
The Bucks are battling against relegation and go into the game sitting 17th in the table.
They were one of the division’s surprise packages last season and earned a play-off place before losing after extra-time at Mariners Park in the semi-final.
Shields won 2-1 in the reverse fixture with a late Lee Mason goal earlier this season and joint manager Graham Fenton is expecting another difficult afternoon.
He said: “I’m sure this game will provide us with another extremely tough test, as every game against Buxton has proved to be over recent years.
“They are a well-organised side with an extremely potent number nine in Diego De Girolamo and we will have to be very mindful of his movement and goal threat, along with Buxton’s other forward players.
“They have been scoring fairly frequently of late but we’re sure that we will cause them lots of problems themselves, especially off the back of scoring three goals last week.”
Shields have had to deal with a number of injuries over recent weeks and will remain without Ross Coombe and Luke Daly on Saturday.
They are hopeful the likes of Blair Adams, Arron Thompson, Dillon Morse and Darius Osei will return soon, although it remains to be seen whether Saturday’s match comes too quickly for them.
Jordan Hunter is expected to be available in a timely boost for the Mariners, while Dom McHale could make his home debut after scoring against Grantham last Saturday.
Fenton was impressed with the effort shown in the win at Grantham and is hoping to see similar levels against Buxton.
He added: “We felt the lads did exceptionally well and kept the positivity high throughout the game.
“They penned Grantham into their own half for the full 45 minutes in the second half, hence the fact (goalkeeper) Ryan Whitley only touched the ball once in the second half.
“It was great to see Dom McHale come on for his debut and contribute with not just his goal to put us back in front but also with his general play throughout the 45 minutes he was on the pitch.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him progress over the next few weeks.
“The dressing room was extremely buoyant after the game and we must take this team spirit and positivity through the next 14 games until the end of the season.”
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm and admission – which can be paid at the turnstiles – is £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s. Discounts are available before midnight on Friday by clicking here.
The turnstiles will open at 12.30pm and the usual Happy Hours will be in operation from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, and between 5pm and 6pm.