Match Preview: South Shields vs Clitheroe, EVO-STIK North
South Shields take on Clitheroe at Mariners Park on Saturday as they aim to maintain their place at the top of EVO-STIK North.
The Mariners have won their last three games in all competitions since their 45-match unbeaten run came to an end at Colwyn Bay a fortnight ago.
Saturday’s opponents are 15th in the table with 10 points from their first eight games, and lost 3-0 at home to Bamber Bridge in midweek.
The Mariners, meanwhile, won 2-0 at Ossett Town on Tuesday thanks to goals from Carl Finnigan and Dillon Morse.
The match will be Shields’ first at Mariners Park since the visit of Ossett Albion on September 5, and although joint manager Lee Picton is looking forward to the occasion, he is expecting a difficult encounter.
Picton said: “It will be nice to be back at Mariners Park, because it feels like a long time since we’ve been there.
“We expect Clitheroe to be another side that comes and works really hard against us.
“They’ll no doubt set up to be tough to beat, and we’re going to have to improve on Tuesday’s levels to find the sharpness we need, particularly in the final third to unlock the door and get us the three points.”
One surprising source of goals over recent games has been Morse, who has scored in each of his last three appearances.
The defender has welcomed his scoring streak, and says goals are always a big target of his heading into the season.
He said: “To have three goals in three games is nice for me, and if that’s contributing towards the team winning, I’m delighted with that.
“As a defender, you want to get a few goals every season to chip in, so I’m happy with my tally so far.
“Hopefully I can have a chance to add more goals in the coming weeks and months.
“I’d be delighted to get another one on Saturday,
Morse is pleased with the way the Mariners have adapted to life in EVO-STIK North so far.
He added: “This league is much more difficult with the travelling.
“Travelling on a bus for up to three hours and then having to get off and play 90 minutes isn’t ideal.
“In a lot of the games we’ve travelled for, we’ve started slowly and got better in the second half, which is understandable, because we’re not used to it.
“I think we’re getting better and better at it the more we get used to it.
“It’s a little bit more physical in this league and teams like to play the long ball more, but I think we’re coping with it really well and I’m sure we’re going to have a successful season.”
You can read a feature-length interview with Morse in Saturday’s matchday programme. The front cover is at the bottom of this article.
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm, and admission – to be paid at the turnstiles – is £8 for adults, £6 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s. Season passes are valid for this match. Your support would be hugely appreciated.
The mascots for the game are Cavan Poulter (below left) and Taylor Scott (below right).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.