Match Preview: South Shields vs Witton Albion, Pitching In Northern Premier League

Match Preview: South Shields vs Witton Albion, Pitching In Northern Premier League

South Shields host Witton Albion on Saturday in the final game of 2021 at 1st Cloud Arena.

The Mariners will be looking to return to winning ways after they were beaten 2-1 by Hyde United last time out.

Tickets for the game will remain available to purchase in advance until 12pm on the day of the game by clicking here. Alternatively, supporters can pay for their admission in cash at the turnstiles.

Manager Graham Fenton is looking for a strong response from his side on Saturday.

He said: “We all realise the first half display last Saturday was nowhere near good enough for this football club and we’re all hurting off the back of it. 

“What we have to ensure is that we react in the right manner and put on a performance that reflects our disappointment from last Saturday.

“What I can also say is there has been a lot of reflection, a lot of soul-searching and a lot of conversations both within the squad and staff, and individual conversations, that I feel have been very productive this week.

“The players’ levels in training have been of a very high standard, so the signs are good that there is a realisation that we need to bounce back and bounce back very quickly.”

Last weekend’s loss left Shields fourth in the Pitching In Northern Premier League, five points behind leaders Buxton.

A victory on Saturday could see the Mariners climb as high as second, but Fenton is not taking Witton lightly.

Just one goal separated the sides in the reverse fixture as Shields got the better of their opponents in August, and Witton have improved since then under the management of Carl Macauley.

They have not played a competitive fixture since November 20th, but Fenton is well aware of the test they can pose his side.

He added: “As always in this league, we know the task is going to be difficult.

“We’ve had some tough games against Witton over the last few years and we don’t expect anything different on Saturday.

“In Witton’s last game, they were very unfortunate to come out on the wrong side of a 4-1 scoreline against Bamber Bridge.

“The red card they received had a big part to play and they looked set to earn a draw until the dying moments, when they conceded three quick goals to make it appear like an easy match for Bamber Bridge.

“That in itself tells you that this is going to be a tough challenge, but we’re ready for it and are eager to get out there.”

Shields are expected to be without Dillon Morse as he nurses a slight calf injury, while Jordan Hunter (broken arm) and Darius Osei (suspension) remain out.

JJ Hooper is set to return to contention, though, after he missed the Hyde game with a slight groin injury and a bug.

Kick-off at 1st Cloud Arena is at 3pm and admission prices are £10 for adults, £8 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, and £3 for under-16s.

Meanwhile, the club will be getting into the Christmas spirit with post-match entertainment, extended Happy Hours, a free hot buffet at 7pm, spot prizes for the best fancy dress and Christmas jumpers worn, and much more. Click here for full details of our matchday party.