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Match Preview: South Shields v Darlington

Shields return to First Cloud Arena after four consecutive away matches to face local rivals Darlington.

The Mariners will be looking to return to winning ways after a 1-0 loss away to Alfreton Town.

The scoreline arguably didn’t reflect what happened on the pitch as, despite creating a large number of chances, Shields were undone by a lone 7th-minute goal.

It was Alfreton’s Jordan Thewlis who scored the only goal that day, this goal took the ex-Spennymoor town frontman to 11 goals for the season. The result meant that the Mariners fell to 9th place in the table with many teams above them having games in hand over them.

Saturday’s opponents, like many of the opposition in recent weeks, find themselves in a poor run of form and currently sit second bottom of the table. Darlington have 2 games in hand over South Shields and have won only 6 times so far as we approach the business end of the campaign.

In their last fixture, they were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Tuesday’s opponents Alfreton Town. That result means that out of their last 5 games, they have won only once and lost 4 times with their last win coming on the 27th of January against Hereford FC in which they won 2-0 at Blackwell Meadows.

In the reverse fixture back in August. The two teams drew 2-2 with Luke James opening the scoring for the Mariners before ex-Sunderland prospect Mitchell Curry levelled 5 minutes later. They then took the lead in the 47th minute through Andrew Nelson before Paul Blackett rescued a point in the 92nd minute with a penalty.

Elliott's Thoughts

Elliott Dickman has stated that despite Darlington’s run of form and league position he won’t be expecting a win without hard work and determination from his squad. “It could be a really difficult game if our heads drop before the games even start, so we need to make sure we are mentally ready.”

Dickman has also “come up with some solutions” after his side lost against Alfreton in a game that he thought his side played really well in. “We may not have won but I wasn’t disappointed, I saw some really good stuff from our team and we have worked on our weak points from that match in preparation for Saturday.”.

Shields play their first game back at home after 4 straight away trips and Dickman thinks that this will be a boost to his squad as well as going on to praise the South Shields supporters. “We are excited to play in front of our crowd again after such a long time away.”. “We have a loyal bunch of fans which can be seen in the number of travelling supporters we have had recently, which is always a good surprise at this level”.

Information for supporters

Kick-off at the 1st Cloud Arena (NE32 3UP) is at 3 pm on Saturday the 17th of February 2024.

Admission prices are £14 for adults, £9 for concessions, £5 for 13–16-year-olds and £3 for 12 and under. – (including online discounts.)

Tickets for Saturday's fixture can be bought here:

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