South Shields go into Thursday’s trip to Easington Colliery knowing a victory will guarantee promotion to Ebac Northern League Division One.
A win would move the Mariners onto 92 points, which is a figure only Chester-le-Street Town, Billingham Synthonia and Ryhope CW can reach.
However, the fact that Chester-le-Street and Synthonia still have a fixture to play against each other means that there is no scenario where both teams can get to 92 points.
Shields may be close to their target, but know that they face an extremely difficult game against an Easington side which has not played since last Wednesday.
In that time, the Mariners have played twice – most recently on Tuesday – although David Foley and Robert Briggs are expected to return against Easington having missed out earlier this week with slight knocks.
Easington already have won victory against Shields this season to their name, having won 2-1 at Mariners Park in September.
They have had an excellent season in Division Two in their first campaign since winning promotion from the Wearside League, and go into Thursday’s match sixth in the table.
Easington did the league double over title challengers Ryhope CW earlier this season, while in cup competitions, they have beaten Morpeth Town, Spennymoor Town, Seaham Red Star, Jarrow Roofing and Newcastle Benfield, all teams from higher divisions.
HOW TO GET THERE
The club would very much appreciate another strong travelling support on Thursday as Shields aim to secure promotion.
Easington Colliery play their home games at Welfare Park, which is in Memorial Avenue, Easington, County Durham, and has a post code of SR8 3PL.
Access to the ground is through a public park, where there is some space for parking.
Those looking to travel there by car face a journey of about 20 miles, which should take in the region of 30 minutes.
The quickest route is via the A19, which should be followed until you take the A1086 exit. Then follow Thorpe Road/B1432 and Seaside Lane/B1283 to Welfare Close, where there is a turn-off to the ground.
September 5, 2015 – Ebac Northern League Division Two, Mariners Park
South Shields 1 (Byrne pen 49) Easington Colliery 2 (Paul 34, Wintrip 81). Attendance: 642.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Smith, Turner (Phillips 68), Galpin, Riding, Chapim, Briggs, Scroggins (c), Ramsey (Noble 35), Byrne, Curry (Hall 86). Subs not used: Pocklington, Heptinstall.
Last six games (in all competitions)
Easington Colliery: LWWDLW (Overall league position: 6th, 61 points from 36 games)
South Shields: WWLWWW (Overall league position: 1st, 89 points from 36 games)
TOP SCORER (LEAGUE GAMES ONLY)
Easington Colliery: Joe Kerridge (15).
South Shields: Warren Byrne (23).
THOUGHTS AHEAD OF THE GAME
Gary Middleton, South Shields assistant manager: “We had a tough game on Tuesday against Brandon, and have to dust ourselves down, regroup and go again for Thursday. No one has lay down for us this season and no one is going to. It will be another tough game, and hopefully we’ll get the points. Easington have done very well this season. They’re up there in the top six, and they turned us over in September. We’re in no doubts that we’re in for a tough game, and once again we’ll need to be at our very best.”
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
Saturday’s game between Easington Colliery and South Shields has been postponed.
The pitch at Welfare Park failed to pass a morning inspection, as there was too much standing water.
Full details about the rearranged fixture will be released in due course.
All those who booked a place on the supporters’ bus to the game can receive a refund ahead of Tuesday’s match against Chester-le-Street at Mariners Park, or call 0191 454 7800.
The Mariners take on the last team to beat them on Saturday as they travel to Easington Colliery in Ebac Northern League Division Two.
Newly-promoted Easington won 2-1 at Mariners Park in September, and since then, South Shields have gone on to win 15 and draw one of their next 16 games.
The last 15 of those have been victories, which has helped Jon King’s side open up an 11-point lead at the top of the table.
However, King is hoping for an improved performance following Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Birtley Town.
He said: “Easington are a big, strong, physical side with pace. They beat us at Mariners Park on the counter-attack and are on a good run of form.
“They’re near the top of the table, so we need to go there and be a lot better than we’ve been of late and come back with the points.
“We can’t be too critical of the lads, because again it wasn’t a great performance on Wednesday, but we won again and that’s 15 on the spin.
“Full credit to the lads for keeping the run going, but we all know we need to be a lot better, because we’re going to be coming up against some tough, tough sides in the next month.”
Defender Daryll Hall, meanwhile – who has become something of a cult figure on the terraces – has described the trip to Easington as Shields’ “biggest” of the season so far.
He said: “I didn’t play in the last game against Easington, but I was there and they’re a tough side. They get behind the ball and shut up shop well. It would be nice to get an early goal again.
“We know they’re going to try and spoil our party and it’s on their own turf, so they’ll be up for it.
“It’s a massive game for us against another one of the teams who are up there in the table.
“It’s a massive, massive game, and the biggest of the season so far for us.”
Shields will be without the suspended Lewis Teasdale for the 3pm kick-off at Welfare Park, but otherwise hope to have a close to full-strength squad to choose from.
There are still places left on the supporters’ coach to the game. To book or enquire, please call 0191 454 7800.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. STILL IMAGE: Peter Talbot.