Preview: Marske United vs South Shields – Emirates FA Cup
South Shields return to the Emirates FA Cup after an absence of two seasons on Saturday when they get their season underway with a trip to Marske United.
The extra preliminary round tie has been eagerly awaited, with Marske and Shields two of the many clubs tipped for success in the upcoming Northern League season.
The Mariners are expected to be backed by a strong travelling support, though, with the club’s supporters’ coach sold out, and reports of coaches from other destinations in South Tyneside heading to Marske.
Those making their own way to the game are advised that the postcode of the ground is TS11 7BW. Admission prices are £6 for adults, £3 for OAPs and £2 for under-16s.
Shields go into the game on the back of a productive pre-season, which resulted in six wins, a draw and a loss from eight fixtures.
Manager Jon King knows, though, that now is when it really starts to matter.
He said: “We’ve got a great bunch of players together and pre-season has gone really well, but the big one is on Saturday. That is when it really counts.
“We’ve got tough opposition. Marske have proved to be one of the best sides in the Northern League.
“They were runners-up in the league last season and winners the season before, so it’s a tough tie, but they will be thinking the same.
“We’ll go down there with a really strong squad, and we’re looking forward to it.”
King feels the travelling support could make all the difference for the Mariners.
He added: “The fans were absolutely superb last season.
“I’m hearing that there are different coaches going from pubs across South Tyneside, so that’s fantastic.
“The fans can be massive for us, as they were in some of the big games last season, like Bishop Auckland and Consett in the FA Vase.
“They were fantastic, and as I said last season, it’s like having an extra player.”
Supporters travelling by car are advised that parking at the ground will be limited, but the main Marske Village Car Park is within very short walking distance.
Meanwhile, the ground itself is alcohol-free, as is the clubhouse. However, supporters can use the Zetland Hotel, located two minutes away from the ground, where home and away fans will be made welcome.
Light refreshments will be available on site, as well as hot and cold soft drinks and food, before and during the match, which kicks off at 3pm.
Should the game result in a draw, the replay will take place at the Hebburn Sports and Social Ground on Tuesday.