Match Preview: South Shields vs Sunderland RCA, Durham Challenge Cup
South Shields will continue their bid to defend the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday when they take on Sunderland RCA at Mariners Park.
The Mariners won the competition last season on their way to a historic quadruple.
They will be up against familiar opponents in Tuesday’s match, with RCA having proved to be extremely difficult to beat in both Northern League fixtures between the sides last season.
Shields had to come from two goals down with 10 men to claim a draw in the first meeting at Mariners Park, while the return fixture saw the Mariners again come from behind after having a player sent off to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory.
Joint manager Graham Fenton is expecting a similarly difficult encounter with Martin Swales’ side this time around.
He said: “Sunderland RCA will work their socks off, and Swaz expects nothing different from his teams.
“They will make it difficult for us, and we’ve already put that in the players’ minds ahead of the game. The lads know it will be a tough test.
“There’s no complacency coming from our side, thinking that just because we’ve stepped up a level it’s going to be easy.
“We know it’s going to be difficult against one of Swaz’s teams, so we’ll give them all due respect and hopefully come out on the right side of the line.”
Sunderland RCA currently sit ninth in Division One of the Northern League, although they are without a win in their last five games in all competitions.
Another player with plenty of experience of coming up against them is Barrie Smith, who also expects a difficult tie as Shields bid to win a place in the quarter-finals.
He said: “Swaz will have them working very hard and getting stuck in.
“They’ll try to make themselves tough to beat, so we’ve got to be ready for that challenge.
“We’re at home and on our pitch, so hopefully we’ll get everybody wanting to do the hard work first and battling for each other. We all know the quality will come through for us if we do that.
“We’re the holders, so we want to win it again. Like last season, we want to win everything that we play in, so our aim is to try to win this game and get through to the next round.”
Kick-off is at 7.30pm, with admission – to be paid at the turnstiles – costing £8 for adults, £6 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.