South Shields face crunch clash in playoff race as Mariners host Brackley Town

South Shields return to action at the First Cloud Arena this Saturday as Brackley Town make the trip up to the north east.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

South Shields host Brackley Town a week on from their 3-1 away to King's Lynn. The Linnets' best player on the day was Jonny Margetts who got the best of the backline on two occasions in the first-half. Paul Blackett pulled one back early on in the second half, bringing some hope back to the supporters, before Quevin Castro put the game out of reach with a goal in the 93rd minute.

This result has left Shields in 12th place, just one point ahead of Spennymoor Town in 13th. The Mariners have played 36 league games this season, leaving just ten games to go for the 2023/24 campaign. Plenty of points are still up for grabs however and the league table could shift dramatically in the remaining games.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This makes the remaining ten games of the campaign all that more important and that is definitely the case with Saturday’s fixture. Brackley Town currently find themselves in the playoff race in 5th place. They have picked up 60 points so far - seven more than South Shields.

Brackley have won two and drawn two of their last five matches with their sole loss in that time coming against King's Lynn Town on the February 20. They suffered the same fate as Shields did last weekend on that day, losing 3-1.

The last meeting between the two sides ended 1-1 back in August when Julio Arca was still at the helm. Martin Smith salvaged a point with his effort in the 70th minute for Shields after Danny Newton put the hosts in the lead in the 27th minute.

The main attacking threat from Brackley Town comes from the previously mentioned Newton. He has 14 goals in 36 league games this season and has significant experience in the football league.

Elliot Dickman's thoughts

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Elliot Dickman was asked how he felt the debut season in the National League North had gone so far. He expressed how he felt as though it had been a good start to life in the 6th tier but also stressed that they could still push for a playoff spot. Dickman said: “The season has been positive and has set a good standard but we can’t forget that there are still ten games to play and we have just as good of a chance of getting out of his division as anyone else.”.

When asked if he fancied his teams’ chances at the weekend, he said: “Like any game it won’t be easy but if we stick to how we know we can play and work well as a team, I don’t see why we can’t get all three points.”.

Paul Blackett scored again at the weekend putting his total up to 22 for the season. This puts him 6 goals above the second highest scorer in the league (Danny Waldron). All oft his success in front of net will in no doubt attract attention during the summer, however, Dickman has reiterated his desire to see Shields keep hold of the former Gateshead man: “Obviously, Paul is a natural goal scorer and teams will be aware of that," Dickman said. "But in my eyes, he is our player and until otherwise he will be our player.”.

Team News 

Both Will Jenkins and Robert Briggs can now play after they served their suspensions against King's Lynn Town.

Information for Supporters

Kick-off at the 1st Cloud Arena (NE32 3UP) is at 3pm Saturday the 9th of March 2024.