Match Preview: South Shields vs Morpeth Town – FA Vase
South Shields take on Morpeth Town in the FA Vase on Saturday in what many have described as the tie of the fourth round.
The match sees the sides sitting second and fourth in Northern League Division One respectively go head-to-head, and will kick-off at 3pm at Mariners Park.
It is also a rematch of last season’s third round tie, which after a raft of postponements, was eventually played on neutral territory, at Consett’s Belle View.
A thrilling 3-3 draw ensued, and Shields eventually suffered an agonising 10-9 defeat on penalties before Morpeth went on to win the competition at Wembley in May.
It promises to be another entertaining clash between two of the most in-form teams in the Northern League.
Shields have won their last 10 matches in all competitions, and 18 of their last 19.
Morpeth, meanwhile, have scored 14 goals in their last two games, and have won nine of their 10 league fixtures since a 4-0 home loss to the Mariners in October.
That result can be discounted heading into Saturday’s tie, according to Shields joint manager Lee Picton.
He said: “We’ve got to draw a line under that game. I don’t think we can take much from that scoreline.
“Morpeth will certainly be coming here with a lot of motivation, and we’ve got to more than match that.
“Hopefully the quality and the support that we’ll have on the day will be some of the defining factors to help us finish on the right side of the line.
“It’s a huge game for everybody concerned and we’re looking forward to getting another big crowd behind us at Mariners Park.”
Captain Leepaul Scroggins made his first appearance in more than two months on Monday in the 2-1 Durham Challenge Cup victory over Jarrow Roofing. A knee injury kept him out for much of that time, before illness ruled him out of the Christmas period.
He said: “Saturday is a massive game.
“We played Morpeth in the league and dominated that match to get the result we wanted.
“This is a totally different game, and everyone steps up their level in the Vase, so we’re expecting a really difficult one.
“It will be a big occasion for South Shields and I’m sure there will be plenty of fans coming to the game.
“It will be tough, but it’s one we know we can come through and win if we play to our potential.
“The Vase is excellent and everyone would like a long run in the competition and a Wembley trip at the end of it. It would be great if we could do it.
“Morpeth beat us last season on penalties on their way to winning it, so it would be good to get one over on them.
“We’ll be raring to go on Saturday.”
The Mariners have an almost fully-available squad to pick from, although Louis Storey is still about a fortnight away from returning to full training as he recovers from a broken leg.
Left-back Anthony Callaghan, meanwhile, is cup-tied, having represented Washington in an earlier round of the competition.
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm, and admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £6 for adults, £4 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s. As this is a cup game, season tickets, corporate and junior season passes are not valid.
Below is the front cover of the programme for the game.