South Shields vs Ryton and Crawcrook Albion Preview
By Daniel Prince
Northern League Division Two’s bottom side visit Eden Lane tomorrow (Tuesday) as South Shields begin their run of four home games in a row.
The four fixtures represent the last matches of the campaign for the Mariners, who sit 16th in the table.
While Shields on the face of it may have little to play for, their opponents tomorrow are locked in a relegation battle.
With one side expected to be relegated from the Northern League this season, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion find themselves in the dreaded last spot with fixtures running out.
With two matches remaining, Ryton are three points behind Esh Winning, who have just one game left.
Ryton have a superior goal difference, meaning a win over Shields would lift them into a safety spot heading into their last game of the season.
The Mariners, though, have their sights set on ending the season strongly and getting some more wins on the board.
Thursday’s 1-0 victory at eighth-placed Whickham was a welcome one, as it ended a run of four defeats in a row.
Jon King’s side produced a fine display to see off Whickham, with all 11 starters impressing.
They will have to guard against complacency when they play Ryton, though, with the reverse fixture in September leading to a narrow 2-1 win for Shields.
Five points in their last four games have handed Ryton a chance of survival, and they will be dangerous opponents for the Mariners.
Shields will be without captain Barrie Smith for the 7.30pm kick-off, despite the fact he made a welcome return after groin surgery as a late substitute at Whickham.
Smith is expected to be available for Saturday’s game against Chester-le-Street.
Adam Burnicle and Colin White are also set to miss out, but King is expected to have an otherwise strong squad to pick from.
South Shields. HOME.
P17. W5. D7. L5. F25. A32. Total GD -24. Pts 44. League table position: 16th.
Form. Last six games six points, form table placing 15th.
Ryton and Crawcrook Albion. AWAY.
P19. W1. D4. L14. G14. A54. Total GD -63. Pts 24. League table position: 22nd.
Form. Last six games five points, form table placing 18th.
South Shields are next in action on Saturday, April 26, when they host Chester-le-Street at Peterlee.