South Shields begin 2022 with a 'tasty' clash against Scarborough Athletic on New Year’s Day

South Shields begin 2022 with a “tasty” clash against Scarborough Athletic at 1st Cloud Arena on New Year’s Day.

South Shields FC
South Shields FC

The Mariners will kick-off the second half of their league campaign in the 3pm kick-off as they look to boost their promotion bid.

Monday’s 2-2 draw at Whitby Town left Graham Fenton’s side fourth in the Northern Premier League, five points behind leaders Buxton and with at least a game in hand on all of those sides above them.

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Fenton was encouraged by his side’s showing at Whitby, when two equalisers denied them maximum points after JJ Hooper had twice put Shields in front.

He has now called on the Mariners to build on the positives from that display and start the new year as they mean to go on.

Fenton said: “There were lots of positives on Monday, and it was streets ahead of the performance in our previous game against Hyde so we showed a good progression.

“I couldn’t have asked for any more from the lads. They fought, scrapped, used their bodies well, tackled when needed and really dug in.

“We were in control but we made a mistake and they punished us with some very good interplay and a very good goal from their point of view for the second equaliser.

“We’ve worked on making further improvements this week and we’re aiming to demonstrate those in what we know will be a difficult game against Scarborough.”

Hooper’s brace took his tally to three goals in two starts for Shields, but his time at the club has been somewhat stop-start due to the Mariners’ lack of games over recent weeks.

Fenton knows he has quite a player on his hands, though.

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He added: “It has been frustrating for JJ as we’ve had a lack of games and he also missed one with a slight niggle.

“We know that with his quality, the more game-time we get in his legs the sharper he’s going to be.

“It was fantastic for him to get two goals on Monday. We’re delighted to have him at the club and he’ll score lots of goals for us.”

Scarborough are eighth in the table, seven points behind Shields having played a game more.

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They are unbeaten in their last three, with impressive 2-0 victories away to promotion hopefuls Bamber Bridge and Warrington Town among that sequence, and Fenton is well aware of the size of the task which awaits his team.

He said: “It’s always tasty against Scarborough and we don’t expect anything different.

“We just want to put on a performance at home which the fans can go away talking about.

“We want it to be enjoyable for them and hopefully we can turn the point from Monday into three points on Saturday.”

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Mitch Rose could make his home debut for Shields in the 3pm kick-off, while Darius Osei returns from his suspension. Jordan Hunter remains out with a broken arm.

Admission is £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s.