Match Preview: South Shields vs North Shields
After a high-profile build-up and much attention trained on both clubs, it’s down to action on the pitch for South Shields and North Shields on Saturday.
One of the most talked-about fixtures involving these clubs in living memory kicks off at 3pm at Mariners Park as the sides occupying the top two spots in Northern League Division One go head-to-head.
North Shields top the league, sitting five points clear of the Mariners, who have two games in hand.
It is a match which has certainly caught the imagination, with advance ticket sales meaning that the Mariners Park attendance record of 1,827 is sure to be broken.
To further add to the occasion, it will be the first time South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton has come up against his former side since crossing the Tyne in September.
It is a game he has been relishing for some time.
He said: “I’ve been looking forward to it.
“I really enjoyed my time at North Shields and I’m looking forward to seeing a few people.
“I know quite a bit about the lads at North Shields, but we went and watched them again in midweek against Morpeth.
“We’ve got to get out of the blocks quickly on Saturday. Our lads are confident, though, that we can take anyone on in this league and get a positive result.”
Fenton won Northern League Division Two, the FA Vase and the Northumberland Senior Cup during a hugely successful four-and-a-half-year spell with the Robins.
Now, though, his focus is fully on the Mariners, who he has helped to eight consecutive victories leading into this fixture.
One of their key figures on Saturday is likely to be Jon Shaw, whether he lines up in defence or attack.
He said: “We know the gate is going to be big.
“The place is going to be rocking and they’re going to come here fancying themselves.
“We’re full of confidence as well, having not been beaten for so long, so it’s going to be a good one.
“We don’t fear anybody, because you know you need to beat good sides if you want to win the league.”
Kick-off is at 3pm and limited tickets remain available. Call 0191 454 7800 or visit Mariners Park from 10am on Saturday if you’d like to secure one.
More details on the turnstiles which will be open on Saturday are available here.
Supporters are advised that Mariners Park and the area surrounding it is likely to be much busier than usual on Saturday.
It may therefore be a wise move to allow extra time to get into the ground, while alternative methods of transport – for example, the Metro – may be an attractive option on a day when parking is likely to be at a premium with such a large amount of supporters descending on Mariners Park.
We hope you enjoy the game and the occasion on what looks sure to be a record-breaking day.
Below is the front cover of the programme.