It’s in our hands – we don’t care what title rivals do

Shields celebrate Michael Richardson's winner against Bishop Auckland
Shields celebrate Michael Richardson's winner against Bishop Auckland

South Shields hero Michael Richardson says the team aren’t looking at what their title rivals are doing – but instead are just focusing on the job in hand.

Richardson struck the only goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Bishop Auckland that stretched the Mariners’ winning run to 29 games.

It came less than 24 hours after title rivals North Shields could only draw 1-1 with West Allotment Celtic on Friday night, meaning the Mariners cut the gap at the top of the Northern League Division One table to six points.

South Shields have three games in hand, the first of which they play tonight when they host Consett, before travelling to North Shields for a huge clash on Saturday.

Richardson said: “We’re not really bothered what other teams are doing, it’s in our hands.

“We just need to keep winning our games.

“If other teams are drawing and dropping points, as long as we keep winning – and then they are looking at us keep winning games – then it is all in our hands.

“We’ve got to just keep playing our football and keep getting those results.”

Tonight’s game will be the third time Shields have atken on Consett this season, having drawn 3-3 in the second game of the campaign, and beaten the Steelmen in the semi-final of the Durham Challenge Cup last month.

“They were a good team when we played them up there,” Richardson added. “They came flying out of the blocks so we need to do the same.

“It will be a tough game but hopefully we can get a couple of goals ahead and keep the ball and keep our energy, and then get a nice four-day break before the next game.

“But we are just looking at Consett and trying to get the three points.”

Saturday’s win means Shields now just need five points to secure a top-three finish, which will guarantee promotion to the Evo-stik League.

And while there is talk of titles and Wembley, joint manager Graham Fenton insists this is the main focus for the club.

He said: “Everyone knows that’s the football club wants to go up, so that’s the first target – how quickly can we get guaranteed promotion.

“Then after, or when, we secure that we will focus on other tasks.

“They put huge pressure on us, they were quite direct and they’ve got good forward players.

“The lads will know what’s coming so hopefully we’ll get a positive result.”