South Shields boss expecting tough FA Vase semi-final with Coleshill

South Shields joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton. Image by Peter Talbot.
South Shields joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton. Image by Peter Talbot.

Joint manager Lee Picton insists South Shields still have a major challenge on their hands to reach the final of the FA Vase.

The Mariners have been drawn against Coleshill Town in the last four of the competition.

The second tie will be held at Mariners Park, raising the prospect of another crowd of more than 3,000 being in attendance to see if their team can reach Wembley.

Picton feels Shields’ Vase ambitions will be sternly tested by Warwickshire-based Coleshill, who are second in the Midland League Premier Division and are on a 12-match winning run.

He said: “I’ve already spoken to a contact from that area, and from what I’ve been told, it sounds like this is just about the toughest semi-final we could have had.

“Coleshill are a really strong side who are especially impressive going forward.

“We’ll do lots of research as always ahead of the games.”

Coleshill play on a 3G pitch, which Picton believes could prove a help rather than a hindrance to Shields.

He added: “I reached this stage of the competition a few times as a player, and you know that at this time of the season, you can end up playing on difficult pitches.

“At least with this tie we know what we’ll be getting with a 3G sruface.

“The first tie is away, so if we can come back to Mariners Park at least on level terms, we’ll be in a strong position.”

Shields were roared into the semi-final by a Mariners Park record crowd of 3,161 on Saturday as they thrashed Newport Pagnell Town 6-1.

Picton said: “I’m sure the second leg of the semi-final in particular will be another charged occasion at a packed Mariners Park. The performance we put in under similar circumstances on Saturday is important for us.

“The players know they can perform in front of a really big crowd and that should give them good confidence.

“For now, though, we’ve got more pressing issues, with important league games coming up this week.

“We’ve got a tough game on Wednesday at Newcastle Benfield and we’re going to have to be at our best to win there.”