Match Preview: Witton Albion vs South Shields, The Pitching In Northern Premier League
South Shields go in search of a third successive victory in the Pitching In Northern Premier League when they travel to Witton Albion on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
The Mariners won 3-1 at Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday as they followed up their opening day victory over Mickleover with another impressive display.
The results have left Shields sitting second in the primitive Pitching In Northern Premier League table heading into the weekend.
In contrast, Witton are seeking their first victory of the campaign after beginning with a draw and a defeat, but Shields manager Graham Fenton believes little can be read into their extremely early-season form.
Albion did the double over the Mariners the last time the sides met in the league, in the 2019-20 season, and Fenton knows what sort of test awaits his players at Wincham Park.
He said: “We realise that Witton is a very tough place to go.
“They’re probably one of our bogey teams because they’ve caused us a few problems in the past, particularly at their place, so we know how difficult it’s going to be.
“It will likely be very similar to the second half on Tuesday so we’ll have to roll our sleeves up, dig in, back each other up and show really good team spirit.
“The lads showed enough on Tuesday to prove they’re really up for that sort of battle.”
Ntumba Massanka will be looking to continue his fine start to life at Shields, having scored three times in the first two games.
His strike partnership with Darius Osei – who got off the mark for the season with the opening goal on Tuesday – has shown early signs of potential, which Fenton believes has a large part to do with the hard work being put in on the training field.
He added: “It has been really promising to see both of those players among the goals so early in the season.
“We’re creating chances, which is great, and some of the movements to get on the end of the crosses and the timing of them have been impressive.
“It’s something we’ve looked at in training and for them to take it on board and put it into practice in matches is really pleasing.”
Captain Robert Briggs is expected to be available for selection on Saturday after making a quicker than expected recovery from a slight hamstring injury, with Joao Gomes the only long-term absentee among Shields’ ranks.
Kick-off at Wincham Park – which has a post code of CW9 6DA – is at 3pm and admission prices are £11 for adults, £8 for concessions, £6 for those aged 18 to 21 and £2 for under-18s.
Supporters can pay at the turnstiles, but tickets are also available in advance by clicking here.