South Shields are aiming to create “special memories” in the FA Vase this season – but know they are in for a serious test of their credentials tomorrow.
Shields are taking on Marske United at Mariners Park in the second round of the competition.
My over-riding wish and desire is to give the home fans a real performance tomorrow to get us through to the next roundLee Picton
The Mariners will be going up against a Marske side which defeated them 3-1 in the FA Cup in August, in what was their first competitive game of the season.
The teams also played out a 0-0 draw in the league in September, with Marske proving difficult to break down in both matches.
Shields joint manager Lee Picton says everyone involved is desperate to give the supporters a “real performance” tomorrow following last weekend’s 1-0 loss to North Shields in the league.
He said: “We’ve played Marske twice already this season, and know what they’re all about.
“I feel it’s about time we got one over on them this season, but we know they will make it difficult for us.
“In both games against them so far, particularly the second one, we were unlucky not to come out on top.
“My over-riding wish and desire is to give the home fans a real performance tomorrow to get us through to the next round.”
The Vase is a competition with special relevance to Picton, who won it twice as a player with Whitley Bay.
With Picton at the back, the Bay defeated Glossop North End 2-0 at Wembley in 2009, and he came on as a second half substitute a year later as the North Tyneside club repeated the trick by beating Wroxham 6-1.
Picton is confident that, if they come through tomorrow’s tough test, Shields have the quality to go deep into the competition. And he is eager for them to create some special memories of their own.
He added: “The Vase is a special competition for me personally.
“It’s one that brought me some of my best memories in football as a player.
“I hope that come the end of the season, we can give not only the players in our dressing room, but also the fans, similar types of memories to look back on.
“We can only concentrate on one step at a time, though, and we’re a long way from Wembley at the moment.
“I know the expectations at the club and among the fans are really high right now, but we need to take things one step at a time and remember how far we’ve come in such a short period of time.”
A record Mariners Park crowd of 2,651 watched Saturday’s derby with North Shields, and Picton says he and fellow joint manager Graham Fenton, as well as the rest of the coaching staff and players, are eager to get back to winning ways tomorrow.
He said: “I’d just like to thank the fans, who showed such incredible support last weekend.
“I want them all to know that we’re all still desperately disappointed that we couldn’t send them home with as much excitement as perhaps they came to the ground with on Saturday.
“Rest assured, though, myself, Graham and the rest of the staff are working tirelessly to try and develop this team into one that they can all be extremely proud of.”
Kick-off tomorrow is at 3pm and admission prices – to be paid at the turnstiles – are £6 for adults, £4 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s. Season tickets, corporate and junior season passes are not valid for this fixture.