MATCH PREVIEW: South Shields vs Garforth Town, Emirates FA Cup
South Shields make their first step in this season’s Emirates FA Cup on Saturday when they welcome Garforth Town to Mariners Park in the first qualifying round.
The Mariners reached the fourth qualifying round of the competition last season after a memorable run which saw them beat the likes of Darlington and York City.
They are aiming to make similar progress this term, but will first have to see off the challenge of Northern Counties East League Premier Division side Garforth.
Garforth defeated Bridlington Town – one of Shields’ FA Cup opponents last season – in the preliminary round, and are in good form, having beaten Hall Road Rangers 4-1 in the league last Saturday to move up to seventh.
David Foley could make his second debut for the Mariners on Saturday, with his move from Spennymoor Town having now been ratified by all the relevant parties.
Tickets for the game – costing £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s – will be available to buy at the turnstiles, or in advance by clicking here.
Shields joint manager Lee Picton says his side will have plenty of motivation after being beaten in the fourth qualifying round by Hartlepool United last season.
He said: “Aside from winning the league title, the Emirates FA Cup provided us with some of our best highlights last season.
“At the same time, though, how we ultimately exited the competition still remains our biggest disappointment of the campaign, because we felt we had the side and momentum to go maybe one or two steps further.
“The game against Garforth marks the first step of a new FA Cup campaign and we sincerely hope that we can add some more memorable moments in this competition that fans can cherish for a long time.
“It goes without saying that we have had a slightly up and down start to the new season, but we feel that the last two performances and results have shown that we’re well and truly on the right track.”
Shields are looking for their third win in a row, having beaten Nantwich Town and Stalybridge Celtic 4-0 and 1-0 respectively in their last two league fixtures.
They go into the game without suspended duo Carl Finnigan and Gary Brown, who will be available again for the visit of Lancaster City in the league on Tuesday.
Anthony Callaghan, Barrie Smith and Lee Mason all remain out injured, while Ben Harmison is also set to miss out with an ankle injury.
Kick-off is at 3pm and the turnstiles will open at 12pm. All those who enter the ground before 1.30pm will receive a voucher for a free pint of Foster’s, John Smith’s or Strongbow, or a half pint of the soft drink of their choice.
Drinks deals will also run between 5pm and 6.30pm, and the England against Spain game will be screened live from 7.45pm.