Joint boss Lee Picton has warned South Shields that a repeat of Saturday’s performance at Coleshill Town in the return leg could kill their FA Vase dream.
The Mariners were not at their best in the Midlands, but battled to a 2-1 win after coming from a goal down.
Although we take a lead up to the North East, we’re in danger of going out of the competition if we repeat the performance levels we generally showed on SaturdayLee Picton
Picton is looking for a much-improved display when they play host to Coleshill this weekend.
He said: “We were obviously delighted to take a 2-1 lead back up to the North East, but there were lots of holes in our performance on Saturday and lots of things that need to be addressed ahead of the next game.
“Although we take a lead up to the North East, we’re in danger of going out of the competition if we repeat the performance levels we generally showed on Saturday.
“I’ve got enough experience, particularly in this competition, to know that semi-finals can do funny things to you and I certainly wasn’t expecting a pitch perfect performance.
“It did surprise me at times though just how far off we looked at times.
“We did get marginally better in the second half and managed to get the two goals, which will hopefully serve us well in the second leg.”
Shields have now won 23 games in a row in all competitions.
At one stage on Saturday, though, Picton would have settled for a draw.
He added: “I said to Graham (Fenton) with about 10 minutes to go that I’d take a 1-1 at that stage.
“We nicked one, and it has put a slightly different dimension on the second leg.”
Picton reserved special praise for captain Julio Arca.
He said: “I will pick out Julio again.
“I just thought, particularly in the last 15 or 20 minutes, when sometimes your backs are against the wall and players around you are starting to tire, Julio looked the fittest player on the pitch, at 36 years old.
“His recovery runs, his tackles, and sheer desire and determination to win were fantastic.
“I really hope we do it for a lot of people.
“For the town, for the supporters – who again gave us incredible support on Saturday – but for people like Julio, who you can tell is desperate to go to Wembley.”