South Shields ready for first home game of season tonight

Jon Shaw celebrates his equaliser for the Mariners at Trafford. Image by Peter Talbot.
Jon Shaw celebrates his equaliser for the Mariners at Trafford. Image by Peter Talbot.

South Shields are hoping for a bumper crowd when they play their first home game in the Northern Premier League North Division tonight.

Shields will take on Brighouse Town at Mariners Park as they look to build on Saturday’s hard-fought 2-1 win at Trafford.

Carl Finnigan is available for selection, despite picking up a red card late in Saturday’s game.

The Mariners are expected to appeal the striker’s three-match suspension, which was set to kick-in on Saturday, when they host Bridlington Town in the FA Cup.

Finnigan scored Shields’ winner at Trafford, with defender Jon Shaw having netted a first half equaliser.

Shaw was delighted to see the winning mentality the Mariners developed last season come to the fore again on Saturday, as they protected their unbeaten record in competitive games which stretches back to last November.

He said: “If we were sharper, we know we could have run away with the game on Saturday.

“We could have been two or three goals up in the first half and we know that.

“We had to dig in and fight like we did at times last year, and that experience helps us.

“We’re undefeated since last November and that mentality still runs through us. We don’t like losing.”

Shaw was impressed with the standard of Trafford on Saturday, and feels Shields will come up against a number of similar opponents this season.

He said: “Everyone said that this league is not too dissimilar to the Northern League in terms of the level, and many of those we’re facing are going to be similar to teams like Marske, Morpeth and the like. All I’d say is that there is probably going to be a bigger selection in this league than there was in the Northern League.

“There might be 10 to 15 teams like that instead of five, and we’ll have to deal with that kind of standard.”

Shaw is hoping the Shields fans will turn out in force tonight for the first home game of the season.

He said: “I’m sure our fans are looking forward to tonight.

“The pitch looks nice, pre-season went well and we’ve won our first tough away game.

“We really want to get home and enjoy ourselves now, and hopefully we can win three more points tonight.”

Shields are set to be without Julio Arca and Gavin Cogdon tonight, with both still away on holiday.

Andrew Stephenson is also expected to miss out, but Darren Lough should return after recovering from illness.

Kick-off at Mariners Park is at 7.45pm, with admission – to be paid at the turnstiles – costing £8 for adults, £6 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.