Match Preview: South Shields vs Warrington Town, BetVictor Northern Premier Division
Warrington Town are the visitors to Mariners Park on Saturday as two of the BetVictor Northern Premier Division’s top three go head-to-head.
Leaders South Shields head into the match four points ahead of their third-placed visitors, who proved to be their nemesis in the 2018-19 season.
The Yellows defeated the Mariners three times – including in the divisional play-off final – before losing the super play-off final to King’s Lynn Town as they were denied promotion.
Both sides are again battling for promotion in 2019-20 – something Shields joint manager Graham Fenton believes deserves credit in itself.
He said: “Warrington proved to be as tough as anyone we faced in the league last season.
“Unfortunately from our point of view, they managed to get the better of us on three occasions, most notably in the play-offs to qualify for the super play-off final.
“That was a huge disappointment to us as a club and I’m sure they had their own disappointment after losing the super play-off final to King’s Lynn, but I think both clubs have bounced back well.
“We’re top at the moment and Warrington are following us very closely alongside another few clubs.
“We’re under no illusions that Saturday will be anything but another really tough test for our squad.
“As always, though, it’s a test we’re really looking forward to.
“It’s an opportunity for us to reverse the results of last season and a chance to open up the gap between ourselves and Warrington if we get it right.”
Shields go into the game without left-back Blair Adams, who suffered ankle ligament damage during Tuesday’s FA Trophy win over Stourbridge.
Academy prospect Kieran Charlton is one of those in contention to replace him, with Shields also having doubts over the likes of Lee Mason and Adam Thurston, while Luke Daly and Josh Gillies remain longer-term absentees.
The Mariners’ first half performance on Tuesday – during which they scored four times without reply in the opening 36 minutes – means they head into Saturday’s crunch clash with confidence.
Fenton added: “We were delighted with the attitude and application of every player involved on Tuesday.
“I think it’s safe to say that the first 45 minutes was as good as we’ve seen so far this season and we’ll be looking to replicate that as best as possible on Saturday.
“We moved the ball with real pace and purpose, and at times Stourbridge didn’t know how to cope with our play.
“We also posed a threat behind their back line, hence the success we got with four goals in the first 36 minutes.”
Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 3pm and admission – which can be paid at the turnstiles – is £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s. Discounted tickets are available until midnight on Friday by clicking here.
The turnstiles will open at 12.30pm and the usual Happy Hours will be in operation from 12.30pm to 1.30pm and 5pm to 6pm. The Premier League game between Everton and Chelsea will be shown on the TVs at 12.30pm, with the Manchester City against Manchester United match shown at 5.30pm.