By Daniel Prince
Long-serving striker Stephen Ramsey (pictured) is set to reach the landmark of 250 games for South Shields against Ryton and Crawcrook Albion tomorrow (Tuesday).
Ramsey will follow in the footsteps of Chris Feasey, who reached the same milestone last month.
The forward has spent his entire career so far with Shields, and is still aged just 25.
Mariners boss Jon King has praised Ramsey for his loyalty, and has described him as a “fantastic lad”.
He said: “It’s another milestone, and Chris Feasey reached the same mark a couple of weeks ago.
“Stephen Ramsey is another fantastic lad, and he has been really loyal.
“He could have moved on a couple of times to sides in the First Division, but has been loyal to myself and South Shields Football Club, so huge credit to the lad.
“He’s a great, great lad, and it’s fantastic to have him.
“Stephen has got a lot of experience and he also provides a lot of assists when he plays, while he is always a threat himself.”
Shields beat Stokesley 4-1 on Saturday in Northern League Division Two, with James Talbot scoring a hat-trick and 16-year-old Ryan Bolam becoming the club’s youngest goalscorer in the modern era.
Tomorrow, though, they could face a tougher test as they travel to a side sitting eighth in the table, having only avoided finishing bottom of the division last season with a final-day win over the Mariners.
King added: “I know Ryton had a poor season last time out and they had to beat us on the last day of the season to avoid finishing bottom, but they have certainly improved and they have had some excellent results.
“We’re confident, though, because of the number of chances we have created in recent games, including Saturday, when we scored four times.
“We said before these two games that it was important to start getting some wins on the board to try and get back to where we were a couple of months ago, and Saturday’s game was a good step towards that.”
Last season’s struggles are now almost a distant memory for Ryton, but King recalls lending them a helping hand during their time of trouble.
He said: “The last time we played them there, I had to persuade their manager not to resign.
“I said I would do what I could to help him, and gave him a couple of players on loan.
“He was over the moon for the help he got last season.
“I think we gave him Tito Davidson and Joe Danquah when he was really struggling for players, and I said to him, ‘You have lots of ups and downs in football’.
“I’m pleased that he has got his side together now and they’re doing well.”
Barrie Smith and Lee Maitland remain suspended tomorrow for Shields, but Alex Kempster is closing in on a comeback.
The game will get underway at 7.30pm at Ryton’s Kingsley Park. Postcode: NE40 3SN.