South Shields look to continue form by making it a perfect 10

South Shields players Warren Byrne, right, and Barrie Smith, left, pick up the club's Player of the Month awards for August and September respectively from club sponsor Shaun Matthias.
South Shields players Warren Byrne, right, and Barrie Smith, left, pick up the club's Player of the Month awards for August and September respectively from club sponsor Shaun Matthias.

South Shields have the chance to make it a perfect 10 tomorrow when they make the trip to Esh Winning.

A victory for the Mariners would be their 10th in a row in all competitions, a run which has helped them soar to the top of Northern League Division Two.

It’s brilliant to see how interested people are in the club, and hopefully we can keep this run of form going

Warren Byrne

At the heart of that form has been a true squad effort, with a host of players making a big impact at Mariners Park.

One of those is striker Warren Byrne, whose goal in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Billingham Synthonia – which was watched by a crowd of 703 – was his 14th of the season.

Byrne is proving to be a popular character, and his trademark description of his ‘Chop n Bosh’ goals – a touch to control followed by a lethal finish – has been much talked about.

He said: “We seem to be getting a settled side now and the squad is very strong.

“When players are being brought off in games, they’re being replaced by players who are just as good, so it’s good to have and creates a bit of a headache for the manager.

“I’ve been delighted with my form this season, and I think my goal on Tuesday was a bit of a Chop n Bosh again.

“I just knocked it out of my feet, it opened up and I hit it, and it went in nicely.

“I’ve been about a bit now and I’ve never played in front of crowds like this.

“To get 700 here on a Tuesday night was unbelievable, and I’m loving it on a personal level.

“A woman pulled me just before I went out to warm up and asked if her son could have a picture with me as I was his favourite player.

“It’s brilliant to see how interested people are in the club, and hopefully we can keep this run of form going.”

Byrne has been named the club’s Player of the Month for August, with the award sponsored by Shaun Matthias, with Barrie Smith picking up the September gong.

Esh Winning are second-bottom, but Shields right-back Smith insists they must be taken seriously.

Smith is feeling thrilled at the change-around in the club’s fortunes, though, with the long-serving player having also represented the Mariners during their two-year exile in Peterlee.

He said: “I would never, ever have thought it would turn out the way it has now.

“Playing at Peterlee was hard, but I stuck by the club and I’m glad I did.

“To play alongside these players, for this management team and in front of these fans is absolutely amazing.

“We’re on a great run of form, but we have to maintain our level, because every team is going to raise their game against us.

“We know that ourselves, because we did that for the last two years in Peterlee.

“We used to raise our game against the better teams, and I’m sure that’s what Esh Winning will be looking to do.

“They’ll look to make it a very difficult game for us, so we need to be at our best.”

Shields will hope to welcome back Robert Briggs and Leepaul Scroggins for the 3pm kick-off at West Terrace, while at least 50 Mariners fans will be attending on a bus organised by the club.