Tow Law Town Preview
By Daniel Prince
Jon King says he’s determined to get South Shields back on the right track – starting in tomorrow’s Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup tie against Tow Law Town at Peterlee.
Shields were beaten 3-1 at Birtley Town on Saturday, and have now won just once in 10 Ebac Northern League Division Two games.
They went in at half-time on Saturday with a 1-0 lead after David Molloy’s early strike, and should perhaps have been further goals ahead at the break.
In the second half, though, they were undone three times as Jak Mitchell struck a hat-trick, and King says it is vital the Mariners now get back to winning ways in a game without the pressure of league points.
The manager said: “Saturday was a game of two halves, and we lost it because we didn’t take our chances in the first half, and defended poorly in the second.
“Not scoring goals, not taking your chances and defending poorly is not a good recipe, and we need to improve that.
“We need to start getting some wins on the board, as we’ve struggled for victories lately and the camp is a bit down.
“On Tuesday, we’re taking a break from the league and will need to have the right attitude if we are to beat Tow Law.
“We need to keep our heads up, regroup, and go again.
“We had a good result the last time we played them (a 5-0 win in September), so hopefully we can get another one and go into the next round of the cup.
“There is no pressure of league points, and we can just concentrate on giving a good account of ourselves and getting a good result.”
Shields are expected to have Steven Graham back available again for tomorrow’s 7.30pm kick-off at Eden Lane after he won his charity MMA bout at the weekend.
King added: “Steven was fighting on Saturday, and I’m over the moon he won his bout.
“It’s fantastic news for the lad and it was all for a great cause.
“We’ll possibly have Lloyd Evans back as well, and we’re also hoping to strengthen the squad in some areas.
“Abu Salim could be a doubt – he said he needs a couple of days’ rest after the injury he picked up on Saturday, so we’ll see how he is then.”
King has spoken on numerous occasions this season of the need for Shields to go into each game with the right attitude, regardless of the opposition.
And that is a message he has repeated ahead of tomorrow’s tie.
He said: “If we don’t perform well, we’ll get beaten, and if anyone thinks we’re just going to win because we’re above Tow Law in the table, it won’t work.
“The football we played at times against Birtley and at Whickham the week before has been fantastic, but we need to keep a performance like that up for 90 minutes.
“It’s no good performing well in spells like that and getting nothing from the game – we need to perform well and get results.”
Chris Feasey could make his 251st appearance for the Mariners in tomorrow’s match after reaching the landmark figure of 250 on Saturday.
King has paid tribute to the player, and also had words of encouragement for Niki Lawson and Daniel Reeves after they both made their debut for the club, with Lawson kicking off his second spell for the club in goal.
He added: “Chris has been very loyal to South Shields and I’m over the moon that he made his 250th appearance on Saturday.
“It’s just disappointing he didn’t get a win on that landmark day for him, but he has been a great servant to this club.
“I was also pleased to hand a debut to Niki Lawson and Daniel Reeves on Saturday, with Niki a familiar face to Shields fans from his successful first spell at the club.
“He’s a really good goalkeeper and played well on Saturday, and Dan is a ball player who we are pleased to have on board.”
Shields will still be without the suspended Barrie Smith, Lee Maitland and Stephen Ramsey for tomorrow’s tie.