Match Preview: South Shields vs Buxton, The Pitching In Northern Premier League
It’s second against third at 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday as South Shields continue their exciting run of games by taking on unbeaten Buxton.
The Mariners – fresh from wins over local rivals Morpeth Town and league leaders Matlock Town – are seven points ahead of their opponents, but Buxton have three matches in hand as a result of their exploits in the Emirates FA Cup.
They reached the first round of the competition on Tuesday with an impressive extra-time victory over National League North side Kettering Town, and Gary Hayward’s men are yet to taste defeat in any competition this season.
Shields manager Graham Fenton firmly expects the Bucks to be in the promotion shake-up, and feels Saturday’s game will be a “great spectacle” between two teams in good form.
Fenton said: “Both teams will be going into it with confidence.
“They’re unbeaten, are on a good cup run and have invested heavily into their team.
“They’ve got some very good players and some very experienced players.
“I went to watch them this week and they’re a good team, so it’s going to be a great spectacle and hopefully we can come out on top.”
Buxton’s strength so far this season has been no surprise to Fenton.
He added: “We knew before a ball was kicked that Buxton were going to be up there because of who they signed.
“They’re very good footballers at this level and they’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience in the camp.
“Facing them is a great challenge for us and I’m sure it will be a tough game for both sides.
“It’s going to be really difficult but the spirit is good, the lads are looking forward to the games and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”
Shields are boosted by the return of Ntumba Massanka after he completed his three-match suspension in the 1-0 win at Matlock Town.
They will be without midfielders Robert Briggs (illness) and Callum Ross (suspension), while they remain without the injured trio of Will Jenkins (leg), Jordan Hunter (arm) and Joao Gomes (knee).
The Mariners are hoping to have striker Cedric Main available, with the club waiting on clearance from the league and FA to field the new arrival.
Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and the gates will open at 12.30pm. Cash will be accepted at the turnstiles but supporters are encouraged to buy tickets in advance from our website via this link to minimise queuing. Admission is priced at £10 for adults, £8 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £3 for under-16s.
Meanwhile, supporters will be able to take advantage of two Happy Hours on Saturday. From 12.30pm to 1.30pm, and 6pm to 7pm, the following prices will apply:
Birra Moretti pint: £2.50
John Smith’s pint: £2
Foster’s pint: £2.50
Strongbow and Dark Fruits pints: £2.50
IPA pint: £2.50
Small bottle of wine: £3
House vodka double with gun mixer: £2.50