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South Shields assistant Gary Middleton will have players’ minds focused on league duty after cup victory

South Shields' matchwinner against Consett Adam Sakr, left. Picture by Peter Talbot.
South Shields' matchwinner against Consett Adam Sakr, left. Picture by Peter Talbot.

South Shields’ euphoric players will be “back down to earth” from Tuesday’s dramatic win at Consett in time for tomorrow’s game against Crook Town, insists assistant manager Gary Middleton.

The Mariners scored an extra-time winner in Tuesday’s FA Vase clash to book their place in round three of the competition.

The league is the bread and butter for us, as our main aim this season is to get promoted.

That sparked wild scenes of celebration among players and supporters, but Middleton says the priority remains the league.

A win over Crook at Mariners Park tomorrow would be Shields’ 19th in a row in all competitions, and could move them eight points clear at the top of Northern League Division Two.

Middleton said: “Don’t worry, we’ll have the players back down to earth for the Crook game.

“The league is the bread and butter for us, as our main aim this season is to get promoted.

“There are another three points up for grabs tomorrow, so we’ll have to be at it again.”

Shields have already played Crook once at home this season, and beat them 5-0 in a Durham Challenge Cup tie in September.

They will go into the league fixture full of confidence following Adam Sakr’s 104th-minute winner on Tuesday, and the winger is now targeting more goals having scored for the third time this season.

He said: “All of the lads were buzzing after Tuesday’s game. It wasn’t the best of performances and the conditions were difficult, but we got the win and that’s the most important thing.

“I couldn’t keep my emotions in when I scored. I was buzzing, and I’m always looking to get goals.

“I don’t think I’ve got as many as I should have so far this season, so hopefully I can score a lot more goals for the team now.”

The memorable scenes at the end of Tuesday’s Vase win will live with Sakr for a long time, and he has praised the ‘connection’ between players and fans.

He added: “It’s unbelievable. There’s a great connection between us and the fans, and they’re an extra man for us in every game. We couldn’t ask for more.

“They’re following us in great numbers, home and away, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match.

“It’s always great playing at home, so we can’t wait. We’re excited to play every game.”

Captain Leepaul Scroggins, too, has praised the affect the fans are having on the Mariners.

He said: “It was brilliant to see all the fans turn up again on Tuesday, and hopefully we’ll have another big crowd tomorrow.

“We keep talking about the fans, and they were outstanding at Consett, as were the lads on the pitch.

“We defended excellently, and we were over the moon when the final whistle went.

“It was great to run over to the fans and celebrate with them at the end, because they came through again and it was another great atmosphere.”

Shields will be without the suspended Lewis Teasdale for tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off at Mariners Park.

Meanwhile, a Christmas Fayre is being held at Mariners Park on Sunday between 11am and 4pm.

There will be a variety of stalls, along with hot and cold beverages, and snacks will be available from the bar. Entry is free.