South Shields ready to begin FA Trophy bid at Scarborough

Carl Finnigan was among those rested by South Shields on Tuesday. Image by Peter Talbot.
Carl Finnigan was among those rested by South Shields on Tuesday. Image by Peter Talbot.

South Shields are hoping to continue their reign as cup kings tomorrow.

The Mariners are at Scarborough Athletic as they play their first game in the FA Trophy since reforming in 1974.

Shields have not been beaten in a cup game since August 2016, when they lost 3-1 in the FA Cup at Marske United.

Since then, they have won three cup competitions – as well as last season’s Northern League title – and progressed to the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time.

They have already met Scarborough once at their new Flamingo Land Stadium home this season, winning 3-1 in Evo-Stik League North in August.

Joint manager Graham Fenton is expecting another difficult game against Boro.

He said: “It was a tough game at their place in the league, but we’re looking forward to it.

“We’re in a good run of form.

“To have taken 27 points from our first 30 available in the league is a magnificent achievement.

“If you’d said that before the season started, we’d have snapped your hand off.

“Our focus now goes to the FA Trophy, and hopefully we can carry our FA Cup form into that as well.”

The Mariners made it 50 wins from their last 52 games in all competitions on Tuesday as they beat the league’s bottom side, Goole, 2-0.

They left it late, though, scoring twice in the last four minutes to seal the points.

Fenton knows an improved performance will be needed tomorrow against a Scarborough side unbeaten in their last 10 games.

He added: “We felt a little bit frustrated as well as relieved on Tuesday.

“The lads were tired after Saturday’s game against York, so we thought we’d freshen it up and give people an opportunity who had been waiting for it.

“Unfortunately for us on Tuesday, we weren’t at our best, so it was a little bit flat and we didn’t show the sharpness of play that we normally do.

“We’ll need to play better if we’re to make it through to the next round.”

On Tuesday, Shields made seven changes to the side which beat York, and, although Fenton was not overly happy with the team’s performance, some players did give the management team something to think about.

He said: “I thought that Matty Pattison was excellent.

“He really tried to take the game to them and everything he did was very positive.

“Some things didn’t come off for him, as you’d expect, but he kept plugging away and trying to make things happen for us.

“We were happy with Andrew Stephenson being back in the team as well.

“He really tried in the first half and tired a bit in the second half, which is understandable because he hadn’t played in a while.

“Liam Connell also came in for us in goal, and he hadn’t played for a few weeks.

“He pulled a tremendous save out of the bag when we really needed him at an important time.

“Although we weren’t great, there were a couple of positives to come out of it.”

Kick-off in tomorrow’s game is at 3pm, with admission costing £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and £1 for those aged 11 and under.

The postcode of the ground is YO11 2JW, and those wanting late places on a supporters’ coach to the match are asked to call 0191 455 2292.