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.
Seats on a supporters’ coach to Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Marske United are selling fast.
However, there is still plenty of availability as the Mariners count down to their first competitive outing of the campaign.
After a strong pre-season, with six wins and a draw from eight games, hopes are high ahead of the coming season.
The support of the fans will be more important than ever, though, as Shields aim to challenge on all fronts following their promotion to Northern League Division One.
They could not have been given a much tougher opening test in the FA Cup than Marske, who were runners-up in the Northern League last season and the winners the year before.
We would really appreciate your support at our first competitive match as we aim to start the season well.
Seats on the supporters’ coach cost £7 for those in the SSFC Members’ Club, and £10 for non-members, and the bus will depart Mariners Park at 1pm. The bar will be open from 11am, with free curry and chips for everyone going on the coach.
Regarding the Members’ Club, it costs £5 for adults and £3 for children to join, with a host of benefits. All of the details are available by following the link: SSFC Members’ Club
To book a place on the coach and/or a place in the Members’ Club, call 0191 454 7800 or visit Mariners Park.
South Shields face a tough trip to Marske United as they return to the FA Cup after two seasons away from the competition.
It will be the Mariners’ first competitive game of the season, with the tie expected to take place on Saturday, August 6 at Marske’s GER Stadium.
The two teams last played each other in November 2013, when Marske ran out 3-1 winners in a League Cup second round tie against a Shields team captained by Ben Riding.
In the 2014-15 season, Marske won the Northern League Division One title, while they were runners-up last term and are expected to again launch a title challenge next time out.
The victors of the extra preliminary round tie will travel to the winners of a match between Chester-le-Street Town and Garforth Town. The preliminary round is expected to take place on Saturday, August 20.
Meanwhile, in the FA Vase, Shields have received a bye to the second qualifying round. Their opponents will be Crook Town or Esh Winning, away from home.