South Shields set for crunch derby with North Shields in Northern League

The Mariners would secure promotion and move to the top of Northern League Division One with a win tomorrow. Image by Peter Talbot.
The Mariners would secure promotion and move to the top of Northern League Division One with a win tomorrow. Image by Peter Talbot.
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Lee Picton has warned South Shields that they cannot afford a repeat of Tuesday’s performance against Consett as they travel to table-topping North Shields tomorrow.

The Shields rivals are going head-to-head in a top-of-the-table clash which could go a long way to deciding the destination of this season’s Northern League Division One title.

It’s going to have to be a better performance

Lee Picton

The Mariners will replace North Shields at the top, with two games in hand, if they claim maximum points at the Daren Persson Stadium.

A win would also guarantee promotion from Northern League Division One.

On Tuesday, South Shields defeated Consett 1-0 at Mariners Park to claim a 30th win in a row.

However, Picton was not satisfied with the display, and knows it will have to improve if they are to pick up the desired result tomorrow.

He said: “It’s going to have to be a better performance.

“We can’t play like that and expect to get anything out of the game tomorrow.

“We’re going to have to pick up our levels and show what we’ve shown consistently over the last few weeks and months, if we’re to stand any chance of picking up three points.”

Shields could set an unofficial world record for consecutive victories tomorrow, and with it promotion to the Evo-Stik League.

For Picton, though, the focus is simple – on three points and three points alone.

He added: “We said to the players after the game on Tuesday that we were disappointed with the performance on the night, but, over the course of the last 30 games, it has been an incredible effort.

“We don’t want anybody to talk about this run any more, though.

“We’ve just got to focus on one game at a time, and they don’t get much bigger than tomorrow’s game.”

Shields are hoping to welcome back a host of players for tomorrow’s match after they missed the win over Consett.

It remains to be seen whether the likes of Craig Baxter, Andrew Stephenson, Michael Richardson, David Foley and Carl Finnigan will be available.

However, if they do make it, there could be some difficult selection decisions to make for joint managers Picton and Graham Fenton, and assistant manager Martin Scott.

Picton said: “There might be two or three players that become available for us – we’ll have to see.

“It’s going to be a tough call for myself, Graham and Martin to pick an 11 and a 16 ahead of this game, because lots of players have done exceptionally well over the last few weeks.”

The Mariners will be followed by a support of more than 400, with the attendance set to be about 1,500.

They will be looking to put their defeat to the Robins in November right.

On that occasion, North Shields captain Kevin Hughes scored towards the end to snatch the three points for his side after a resolute defensive performance.

That was the last time South Shields failed to win a game, with the Mariners having gone on a record-breaking run of victories since.

They now unofficially hold the world record for consecutive wins with Scottish side East Kilbride, and would surpass them with a win tomorrow.

Their focus appears solely on three points, though, and achieving their season-long goal of promotion.

Kick-off is at 3pm.