Whitby Town defeat a 'big learning curve' for South Shields squad ahead of Scarborough Athletic test

South Shields will aim to get back to winning ways on New Year’s Day when they host Scarborough Athletic at Mariners Park.

Joint manager Graham Fenton.
Joint manager Graham Fenton.

Joint manager Graham Fenton says the narrow 2-1 defeat to Whitby Town on Boxing Day was a ‘big learning curve’ for his young squad.

On a day when most other results went their way, the Mariners were unable to capitalise and extend their lead at the top of BetVictor Northern Premier Division.

They went a goal behind in the fifth minute and when the Seasiders doubled their lead midway through the second half, Shields had a mountain to climb.

They got back into the contest via a Dillon Morse header but were unable to claw back a point.

Fenton is looking forward to home comforts on New Year’s Day, the Scarborough Athletic game gets underway at 3pm.

Reflecting on the Whitby defeat, Fenton said: “I just think everyone has to appreciate that we are almost asking the lads to effectively play almost two different types of game - to play out from the back at Mariners and other pitches that are decent surfaces and then come to a place like this, on a pitch that used to be magnificent but has deteriorated for whatever reason and it is very difficult to play.

“Were they the better team? It was an even game in difficult conditions, they have shown two bits of quality to get the goals.

"We are treating it as a really big learning curve, we have a lot of young lads, new to the squad, who maybe haven’t had to come to a place like this where the conditions are poor.

“It is another thing for them to learn from and get better and realise you have to adapt your game. It will be good for their development.”

Fenton is expecting a difficult afternoon against Scarborough, adding: “We haven’t had an easy game against them yet, we are not expecting anything different, it will be good to be back at Mariners.

“From this first half of the season going into the second half, can we improve on the first half total and if we do then we will be very hard to defeat.”