Match Preview: South Shields vs Matlock Town, The Pitching In Northern Premier League
Matlock Town are the visitors to 1st Cloud Arena on Tuesday for a meeting between two of the top three in the Pitching In Northern Premier League (7.45pm kick-off).
Should either side win the game, they will end the night top of the table, with current leaders Buxton not in action in midweek.
Both South Shields and Matlock have two games in hand on the Bucks, so this is an opportunity to steal a march and make a statement as the promotion race continues to hot up.
Storm Eunice left Shields and Matlock each without a match on Saturday and both will be looking to bounce back from recent results, with the Mariners having been beaten 1-0 by Mickleover in their most recent outing last Tuesday, and Matlock winless in their last three.
Darius Osei headed in the only goal in the reverse meeting between the teams in October.
Shields manager Kevin Phillips has called for positivity from his team on an evening which is expected to attract a large crowd to 1st Cloud Arena.
He said “I’m trying not to get too carried away with it, and as I often say, it might be a cliché but we have to play the game and not the occasion.
“We’re expecting a real physical battle, because Matlock are a physical team and are quite direct in their style, so we need to deal with that threat.
“When we do turn over and transition, we have to play our football. We’re the home team and have to be positive, on the front foot and brave to exploit their weaknesses.
“Matlock are a solid outfit and have shown an impressive level of consistency throughout the season, but this is an opportunity for us to respond to the disappointing result at Mickleover and there would be no better occasion to get back to winning ways.”
A big crowd is anticipated for such an eagerly-awaited game.
Phillips added: “Our supporters have been superb throughout the season, and certainly since I came in.
“They turn up in their droves at home and away and they’re a passionate set of fans who care deeply about their club.
“They’re a massive help with the way they get behind their team and I’m sure it’s going to be a good atmosphere on Tuesday. It’s important the players thrive in that.
“This is a big occasion but as I’ve already stressed, we have to be aware that this one game will not define our entire season.
“It’s not a title decider by any means and we have to keep that perspective.
“There will still be 12 matches left to play after this one, which is a significant portion of the season, and so whatever the outcome is there will still be a lot to play for and nothing will be already won or lost.”
Shields remain without midfielder Callum Ross and forward Cedric Main, but are expected to have an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from.
Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 7.45pm and admission prices are £10 for adults, £8 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £3 for under-16s. Admission can be paid for at the turnstiles, which will open at 5.30pm.
Tickets can also be purchased in advance until 3pm on matchday by clicking here.