Match Preview: South Shields vs Mossley, Evo-Stik North
Mossley are the visitors to Mariners Park on Saturday as South Shields aim to register their first home win of 2018.
The calendar year got off to a false start for the Mariners as they were beaten 3-1 by Scarborough Athletic on New Year’s Day.
They recovered well from that to win 2-0 at Tadcaster Albion last Saturday, and now they will be looking to cement their place at the top of the Evo-Stik North Division.
Shields – who are league leaders on goal difference from Scarborough – will certainly not be in for an easy task against 13th-placed Mossley, though.
The Lancashire-based side came from behind to lead the Mariners 2-1 in the reverse fixture between the teams in October. Goals in the last three minutes from Julio Arca and Jamie Holmes sealed a dramatic victory for Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side, though, as they demonstrated tremendous character.
Picton is eager for Shields to go on a run of wins as they aim to open up a lead at the top of the table.
And he feels the Mariners owe their fans following the defeat against Scarborough.
He said: “The league table is a lot tighter than it was three or four weeks ago, and we’ve got to go on a run.
“We should be able to take a lot of confidence from last week’s performance, and we’re back at home.
“One thing I want to say ahead of the Mossley game is that we owe the fans a real performance at home.
“I’ve never said this before, but they were short-changed against Scarborough.
“All credit to the players for the way they reacted. We brought them in a day after the Scarborough game and spent a lot of time trying to put things right.
“Everybody took it in exactly the right way, and we pulled together as a group, as we needed to.
“I just really hope and pray, and I’m pretty confident after last Saturday’s performance, that we can give something back to the home fans.”
Striker Carl Finnigan will be aiming to score his 50th goal for the Mariners in Saturday’s 3pm kick-off. He is currently on 49.
There may be 20 points separating the sides going into the fixture, but joint manager Picton is not expecting an easy ride.
He added: “The reverse fixture was one of the roller-coasters we’ve had so far this season.
“I’m sure it will be difficult to beat them again.
“Like every team, they’ll probably put an extra 10% on their performance, because they’re playing us. That’s what we’ve just come to expect.
“We’ve got to be ready to match that, go beyond that and finish the right side of the line.”
Admission – to be paid at the turnstiles – is £8 for adults, £6 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s. Season tickets and part-season tickets are valid for this fixture.
The turnstiles will open at 12pm, and a happy hour will be in operation until 1pm, with pints of Foster’s and John Smith’s available at £2 per pint.
Pints of Heineken will also be available for £2 in the marquee, while stocks last.
In the clubhouse, meanwhile, the 12.30pm Championship match between Cardiff City and Sunderland will be shown.
We hope you can make it to Mariners Park!