Match Preview: South Shields vs Buxton, Play-Off Semi-Final
South Shields host Buxton in a crunch play-off semi-final on Tuesday as the race for promotion hots up.
One team’s promotion dream will come to an end at Mariners Park, but both teams know they are just three wins away from earning a place in National League North.
For Shields, the equation is relatively simple.
To go up, they must beat Buxton and then the winner of the tie between Warrington Town and Nantwich Town on Saturday, before overcoming the winners of the Evo-Stik South Premier Division Central play-offs at Mariners Park a week later.
Captain Jon Shaw has called on Shields’ fans to raise the roof on Tuesday.
He knows the difference the fans could make.
He said: “The support we have been shown throughout this season has been out of this world, and now we need our brilliant supporters again for these play-off games.
“We hope there are three games left and that in a couple of weeks we are celebrating together again.
“First things first, we hope the fans raise the noise levels on Tuesday and repeat the atmospheres of the great cup games we have had at Mariners Park over the last few years and together we will get over the line.”
Shields finished second in the table, missing out on the title by three points.
They were beaten just once at Mariners Park in the league all season, so will go into the play-offs with confidence.
Buxton are one of the few sides they failed to beat in the league, though, losing 2-0 in Derbyshire in October before a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in March.
Shaw, though, is confident Shields can get the right result.
He added: “Buxton are one of the few sides to have had the better of us this season, beating us at their place and getting a draw here in the league.
“However, this is a one-off cup game and we have to go out and play like we did in the 1-1 draw but take our chances.
“That day in the league we were excellent.
“We didn’t only knock, but banged on the door all day only to be turned away by a fantastic goalkeeper and defensive display.
“The two results show how dangerous this fixture is but our home form over the last three years is second to none and the confidence and form we take into this game must show from the first whistle.”
Shields have no major injury concerns heading into Tuesday’s 7.45pm kick-off at Mariners Park.
Season tickets are not valid for this match and admission prices – which can be paid at the turnstiles – are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s.
Tickets are available to buy from the club’s website until midnight on Monday.