Match Preview: South Shields vs Stalybridge Celtic, The Pitching In Northern Premier League

Match Preview: South Shields vs Stalybridge Celtic, The Pitching In Northern Premier League

South Shields play the penultimate home game of their league campaign on Saturday when they welcome Stalybridge Celtic to 1st Cloud Arena (3pm kick-off).

This is one of just four remaining fixtures for Kevin Phillips’ side in the Pitching In Northern Premier League as they battle for promotion to National League North.

Trailing leaders Buxton by two points, second-placed Shields know the importance of maximum points against a Stalybridge side which has won two of its last three games to pull away from relegation danger.

The reverse fixture resulted in a 3-1 win for the Mariners in August, when Darius Osei, Blair Adams and Ntumba Massanka were on the scoresheet.

Osei will be among those hoping to impress once more against the club he joined Shields from in February 2020.

Manager’s view

Shields manager Phillips believes it is imperative his side collect all three points to strengthen their hopes of overhauling Buxton at the top.

He said: “We all know it’s pretty clear we can’t afford any more slip-ups if we want to win automatic promotion.

“Our target is of course to win all four of our remaining fixtures but we can’t disrespect any of our opponents, because they’ll all be fully motivated to stop us and will want to have a big say.

“We have to just take each hurdle as it comes, starting against Stalybridge Celtic.

“It’s vital we pick up a positive result heading into what will be a difficult Easter weekend double-header for everyone in the league, with two games in three days.”

Stalybridge securing their status in the division over recent weeks makes them an even trickier team to face, according to Phillips.

He added: “Stalybridge will be tough opponents, especially after a couple of good results recently which secured their safety.

“They’ve got no worries of going down now so they’re a dangerous animal with no pressure on them.

“We’re expecting them to raise their game, as many teams do at our place, and we have to be ready for that.

“Stalybridge are quite a direct team and are not afraid to pull the trigger around the penalty area, so we need to be careful of that and defend well if we are to pick up three points.

“As the home team, we want to take the game to them in a controlled and organised way, as we have done in all of our recent matches at our place.”

Team news

Shields remain without injured midfielder Callum Ross but are hoping to have an otherwise full-strength squad to choose from at 1st Cloud Arena.

Matchday information

Admission – which can be paid at the turnstiles – is £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s. Supporters can purchase tickets in advance until 12pm on matchday by clicking here, which will also help to minimise queuing and ease entry through the turnstiles, which open at 12.30pm.

Fans are encouraged to stay behind after the match to enjoy karaoke in the marquee, or watch the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur in the clubhouse bars.

Happy Hour pricing will be in place across all bars between 1pm and 2pm, and from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

If you are unable to attend the game, follow live updates on the club’s Twitter channel, www.twitter.com/southshieldsfc.