'We want Sunderland' – South Shields have eyes for their League One North East rivals after writing some FA Cup history
South Shields’ Lee Picton has already set his sights on Monday’s FA Cup first round draw – and the joint manager admits he’s gunning for North East rivals Sunderland.
The Mariners wrote their own little bit of FA Cup history at the 1st Cloud Arena, previously known as Mariners Park, in beating National League side Halifax Town to reach the first round proper of the competition for the first time since 1973.
And Picton hopes the luck of the draw is in the Mariners’ favour, pairing the Northern Premier League outfit with Phil Parkinson’s League One Black Cats.
“Of course there is one tie that sticks out for everyone around here,” said a joyous Picton after watching his side’s 2-0 victory.
“It is fairytale stuff. And it is a big IF, but if we could draw Sunderland that really would be the magic of the FA Cup.
"A tie like that would be truly magical.”
While two divisions separated the Shaymen and Shields, that gulf was less than apparent in the 90 minutes.
Shields were dominant from minute one to 90, bar maybe a ten-minute period after the break and fully deserved their two-goal win, which came courtesy of two goals worthy of the magic of the FA Cup – Darius Osei’s header from a Alex Kempster cross was truly top drawer before talismanic Robert Briggs jinked his way to a sublime second.
“We couldn't ask any more of our players, one to 11 and the three subs,” said Picton of his side.
“We have given a great account of ourselves - and I think anyone watching that who didn't know who the two sides were would have us as the team higher up in the food chain.
“That can happen on one off cup games but we have to take that into the league, the meat and drink for us, and we must do that Tuesday.”
South Shields are back in Northern Premier League action against FC United of Manchester on Tuesday evening.
“We weren't brilliant in the first 10 minutes of the second half but a lot of the play was in front of us,” he continued.
“When you break down what Myles Boney has had to do today – he's had a couple of regulation saves and a couple of punches. In 90 minutes of football they never got behind us, which is testament to the boys.
“You can't get too low with the lows or too high with the highs.
“We will enjoy ourselves - it is a big win for us. But this will not give us a headstart in our game on Tuesday.”