Preview: South Shields vs Gateshead
South Shields will hope to progress to the last four of the Durham Challenge Cup on Wednesday when they host National League side Gateshead.
The quarter-final tie is to kick-off at 7.30pm at Mariners Park, with Shields looking for a strong response from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Billingham Synthonia in Ebac Northern League Division Two.
The Mariners reached the final eight with a 1-0 win at Consett last Tuesday, which sandwiched league losses at Synthonia and Ryhope CW.
And captain Leepaul Scroggins has backed Shields to bounce back against the Heed.
He said: “This is a tough game for us, but it’s great to be taking on Gateshead and we’re really looking forward to it.
“We responded well to the Ryhope defeat last week by beating Consett, so we’ll expect the same against Gateshead.
“We don’t know what sort of team Gateshead will send out, but it would be good to beat them.
“It’s a quarter-final, and we want to win every competition we play in, so we have to see the gamer as a big opportunity.”
Shields goalkeeper Gareth Young, meanwhile, who has fought his way back into the side over the last two games, is hoping the crowd will play its part at Mariners Park as they play their first home game since December 19.
He said: “There’s no reason we can’t beat Gateshead with the crowd behind us.
“We believe we can go on a good run in the cups, and that’s what we want to be doing. We want to be fighting on all fronts.
“Gateshead are a Conference side with professional players, so this match should show us what standard we’re at.
“We’ve played against a few Northern League Division One sides this season, and have looked the better team every time, so it will be good to test ourselves again.”
Shields remain in the League Cup and Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup, as well as the Durham Challenge Cup, while they are six points clear at the top of Northern League Division Two.
Assistant manager Gary Middleton added: “In the league, we’ve lost two in a row now after winning 20 in a row before that in all competitions.
“We need to get those defeats out of our systems quickly and go on another good run again.
“They’re all big games. We see every cup competition as an opportunity to win something, so we’re all hoping we can get the win to put us into the last four.”
Shields will be without the injured Lewis Galpin for the 7.30pm kick-off at Mariners Park.
Admission is to be paid for at the gate, costing £5 for adults, £3 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.