South Shields travel to Ryton & Crawcrook Albion on Saturday aiming for a fifth successive victory in Ebac Northern League Division Two (3pm kick-off).

The Mariners have beaten promotion rivals Team Northumbria and Chester-le-Street Town in their last two league games to move five points clear at the top.

With the top three to win promotion, Shields stand 12 points clear of fourth-placed Chester-le-Street, with a game in hand.

They were defeated on penalties on Tuesday in the Durham Challenge Cup by Newton Aycliffe, but return to the priority of league action on Saturday.

HOW TO GET THERE

The Mariners have had outstanding travelling support all season, and it would be superb to see another big contingent of South Shields fans at Saturday’s game. Ryton play their home matches at Kingsley Park, which is on Stannerford Road, Crawcrook and has a postcode of NE40 3SN.

Those looking to travel there by car face a journey of about 18 miles, which should take in the region of 45 minutes.

First, take the A194 and A184 until you reach Skinnerburn Road, in Newcastle. Continue on Skinnerburn Road and then onto Scotswood Road (A695). At Blaydon roundabout, take the A695 Ryton bypass (second exit heading uphill) and continue past the Ryton turn-offs until you reach the small roundabout. Turn right just after the roundabout marked Greenside and Prudhoe and travel downhill for three-quarters of a mile until the traffic lights, before going straight over the junction, continuing downhill, and the ground is 200 yards on the right

LAST MEETING

October 10, 2015 – Ebac Northern League Division Two, Mariners Park

South Shields 4 (Teasdale 12, Byrne 67, Arca 90, Scroggins 90+2) Ryton & Crawcrook Albion 0. Attendance: 1,045.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Curry, Hall, Riding, Arca, Sakr (Ramsey 80), Scroggins (c), Bulford (Foley 59), Teasdale (Byrne 53), Phillips. Subs not used: Young, Wightman.

FORM GUIDE

Last six games (in all competitions)

South Shields: DWLWWW (Overall league position: 1st, 68 points from 28 games)

Ryton & Crawcrook Albion: LLDDWL (Overall league position: 15th, 37 points from 30 games)

TOP SCORER (LEAGUE GAMES ONLY)

South Shields: Warren Byrne (19).

Ryton & Crawcrook Albion: Sam Moore (17).

THOUGHTS AHEAD OF THE GAME

Mark Scott, South Shields first-team coach: “It hasn’t been a job to lift the players since Tuesday. Overall, that was still a good performance. The lads were obviously really disappointed to go out in the semi-final, because everyone wants to play in finals and that’s the way the club is going. The main goal has always been the league, though, and that’s still our main priority. The league performances have been first-class of late in some big games. The lads were disappointed on Tuesday, but can keep their heads held high after their performance, and we’ll go again strong on Saturday.”

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.

South Shields were watched by their biggest home crowd for 20 years as they racked up an eighth straight win with a 4-0 thumping of Ryton and Crawcrook Albion on Saturday.

More than 1,000 fans were at the Northern League Division Two game, with goals by Lewis Teasdale, Warren Byrne, Julio Arca and Leepaul Scroggins wrapping up the three points.

The crowd of 1,045 was the biggest at Mariners Park since 1,500 saw Shields take on Spennymoor in the Durham Challenge Cup final of 1995 as the positive vibe around the club continues.

They made hard work of it at times against plucky Ryton, but showed their class at the start and end of the game to further cement their place in second.

The first opportunity of the match fell to Shields captain Scroggins 25 yards out, and his powerful drive was well cleared by the head of Gavin Cox.

Adam Curry – who was a constant presence going forward from left-back – then delivered a superb low cross which goalkeeper Tom Chrostowski parried to Andrew Bulford, but he was unable to react quickly enough and the ball bounced away.

The Mariners opened the scoring on 12 minutes, though, when a cross from the left by Arca was headed back across goal by Bulford and turned in by Teasdale as he claimed his first goal for the club.

At the other end, the rarely troubled Scott Pocklington kept out an effort from Phil Robinson, but that was a rare foray forward for Ryton.

Teasdale was denied when Chrostowski saved his shot from distance, while Bulford wasted a huge opportunity when he was sent through on goal by a ball over the top from Ben Riding, but could only skew his effort into the side netting.

Bulford had an uncharacteristically frustrating afternoon in front of goal, but almost scored a spectacular one when Teasdale’s header across the box went behind him, and he acrobatically attempted an overhead kick which went past the post.

Josh Holland – who had a spell with Shields in pre-season – hit one towards goal at the other end, but Riding got in the way of it, and Bulford headed wide for the Mariners after being found by Wayne Phillips.

Shields knew they could be made to pay for their missed chances, and that almost proved to be the case seven minutes after half-time when Ryton’s Sam Moore was sent clean through on goal, but poked the ball wide.

That appeared to be the warning sign the hosts needed, and they almost went 2-0 up when a wicked Adam Sakr delivery from the right was powerfully headed against his own crossbar by Adam Chrostowski.

The resulting corner was curled invitingly into the six-yard box by Arca, but substitute Byrne was just unable to get clean contact on the ball and it went wide.

Byrne got his goal on 67 minutes, though, when Curry made a powerful run through the centre and then slotted the ball through for the Shields striker, and he made no mistake as he drove it home.

Another substitute, David Foley, hammered one not far wide soon after, while Sakr hit a shot wide at the back post after a cross from Phillips on the left.

Byrne hit the crossbar when he headed a Curry cross back across goal, and then missed another glorious opportunity after being found by Arca seven yards out as he fired over.

The gloss was added to the scoreline in the closing stages, though, and former Sunderland and Middlesbrough star Arca provided a memorable moment to delight the four-figure crowd.

After collecting a ball which had dropped just outside the box, the Argentinean fainted to move one way, drawing the ball away from the defender before curling majestically into the net off the post.

Arca was not finished there, and two minutes into stoppage time, his tremendous corner from the right was nodded in by Scroggins as the scoreline was given more of a one-sided look.

It capped a superb day for the Mariners in front of one of the biggest attendances in the country on the day, and was their eighth win in a row, with just one goal conceded in that sequence.

They will hope to claim another three points when Billingham Synthonia visit Mariners Park on Tuesday for a 7.30pm kick-off.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Pocklington, Smith, Curry, Hall, Riding, Arca, Sakr (Ramsey 80), Scroggins (c), Bulford (Foley 59), Teasdale (Byrne 53), Phillips. Subs not used: Young, Wightman.

Goals: Teasdale (12), Byrne (67), Arca (90), Scroggins (90+2).

Attendance: 1,045.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.

South Shields will look for an eighth consecutive victory on Saturday as Ryton & Crawcrook Albion visit Mariners Park on non-league day.

Three points could take the Mariners to the top of the Ebac Northern League Division Two table on a day when non-league takes centre stage in the absence of top-flight football.

Shields beat Ryhope Colliery Welfare 2-0 on Tuesday to continue their winning sequence, and assistant manager Gary Middleton is delighted with their recent form – in particular the way they have started games.

He said: “Starting well is vitally important, because it breeds confidence and gives us something to build on. We’re a hard nut to crack at the moment.

“We said a while ago that we needed to go on a long run of wins, and that’s seven in a row now and six clean sheets.

“That’s what we needed to do, and we’re doing that at the moment, so we need to keep that going.

“We’ve got a good dressing room and good camaraderie, and that gets you results as well.

“Every game is a test, though, because all of the teams are desperate to beat South Shields, and Ryton is the next challenge to come up.

“We’ll have to make sure we step up to the challenge against them.”

Ryton have had a decent start to the campaign, and sit eighth in the table, with 21 points from their first 14 games.

Shields will be able to call upon Julio Arca after he missed the win over Ryhope, while Leepaul Scroggins and Robert Briggs are among the other players hoping to be available.

David Foley, meanwhile, made his long-awaited return to action from a hamstring injury with a late substitute appearance in midweek, and is expected to be named on the bench again on Saturday.

The forward said: “I felt good to be back on the pitch, and there was no reaction from my time on there.

“I’m not quite ready to start a game yet. It would be nice to come on for a little bit longer – maybe 25 to 30 minutes – but I feel ready now, so whatever the management decide to do, I’m happy with.”

The game at Mariners Park kicks off at 3pm, while there will be a half-time dizzy penalties competition – with all contestants winning a prize, and the winner also receiving a copy of simulation game Football Manager 2016.

The full details of that will be announced on Friday.

Admission prices for the match are £5 for adults, £3 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s.