Match Preview: South Shields vs Gateshead, pre-season friendly

Match Preview: South Shields vs Gateshead, pre-season friendly

South Shields bring their pre-season to a close as they welcome Gateshead to 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Tickets for the game remain available, with Shields supporters able to purchase by clicking here and Gateshead fans asked to follow the link provided on their club’s website. Cash will be accepted at home turnstiles on matchday but away supporters must purchase tickets in advance, with the full details available by clicking here. Advance tickets will be available until 12pm on matchday.

Both sides look in impressive shape heading into 2021-22, with Shields having won four of their five first-team pre-season matches, while Gateshead have been victorious in all six of theirs.

Mariners manager Graham Fenton is pleased with how his team is shaping up, despite last Saturday’s 3-2 reverse at home to Marske United.

He feels Mike Williamson’s Tynesiders are the ideal final opponents for Shields ahead of the new campaign.

Fenton said: “Gateshead will definitely open the game up and try to play, so it should be an entertaining one for the fans who come along and watch.

“The Marske game was probably a good dress rehearsal as they play in a similar way to Gateshead.

“It will be really interesting to see how we get on and whether we can build on some of the tactical elements we showed in the second half against Marske.

“We want to finish pre-season with a win but we know it’s not going to be easy.”

Jack Bodenham is in contention to make his first appearance in claret and blue after the former Cardiff City defender joined the club on Friday, subject to receiving FA clearance.

Bodenham and his new Shields team-mates are expecting a stern test against Gateshead, whose most recent outing was a superb 4-1 win over Newcastle United’s Under-23s. The Heed count former Mariners defenders Louis Storey and Alex Nicholson among their ranks.

As with any pre-season fixture, Saturday will be less about the result and more about fitness levels and patterns of play, but Fenton has stressed the importance of a strong performance as he finalises his plans for next weekend’s league opener against Mickleover.

He added: “We’re looking for players to command their place in the starting line-up for the game against Mickleover next week.

“There have been some really pleasing aspects of play recently, interspersed with some poor bits of play, but you’re always going to get that at this stage, particularly after such a long lay-off.

“I think that most teams will be the same in the early part of the season, with rustiness and mistakes an inevitability when the majority of us haven’t played a competitive game in the calendar year.

“We just have to make sure we’re in the best shape possible and that’s why pre-season games like this one are so important.”

Saturday’s game will kick-off at 3pm and the two sets of supporters will be segregated.

Gateshead fans – who must purchase tickets in advance – will be able to enter the ground through turnstiles 3 and 4, with turnstiles 1, 2, 5 and 6 designated for home supporters, who will be able to pay at the gate but are strongly advised to secure their tickets ahead of the game to ease queuing and ensure a quicker entry to the ground.

Tickets are priced at £6 for adults, £4 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.

The turnstiles will open at 12.30pm and entertainment will be available for Shields fans after the match in the Barbour Lounge, with singer Michael Stevens set to perform.