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NPL Match Preview: Marine vs South Shields

Newly-promoted Marine provide the opposition on Saturday as South Shields face another away trip in the Pitching In Northern Premier League (3pm kick-off).

Both sides have collected four points from their first two games, with an opening day victory followed up by a draw in midweek.

Marine’s 3-0 win at Guiseley – a team they were two divisions below last season – was particularly eye-catching, and they kept a second successive clean sheet in Tuesday’s goalless draw against Lancaster City.

Shields travelled to Marine last October for an FA Trophy tie, with the Merseyside outfit prevailing in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw over 90 minutes.

The Lilywhites went on to earn promotion via the play-offs, a year on from their heroics in the FA Cup, when they incredibly reached the third round before falling at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in a tie which was screened on national television.

The funds from their historic run in the competition helped fund a new 3G pitch at the Marine Travel Arena, which was installed ahead of this season.

Manager’s views

Shields manager Kevin Phillips hopes the new surface will play to his team’s strengths.

Phillips said: “This is another tough match for us, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.

“It’s always challenging to play a newly-promoted team and they’ve had a good start to the season, so we know the kind of intensity to expect.

“They play on a 3G pitch, which I’d like to think will suit us with the way we like to play football.”

Phillips has stressed Shields have plenty of areas for improvement following Tuesday’s draw with Ashton United, particularly their first half performance.

He added: “We had to mix it up a bit on Tuesday and play slightly more direct than we normally would, and we should have won.

“We’ll be able to get the ball down on the deck and play the patterns and football we know we can play this weekend, hopefully.

“Over a long season, we’re going to have first halves like the one we had on Tuesday.

“Not everything is going to go our way and we’re not going to play every team off the park, so we have to learn different ways to win.

“On Tuesday we learned another way of getting a point but on Saturday, we should be able to play more like the way we want.

“We’ll be well recovered and ready to go.”

Team news

Shields remain without injured quartet Tom Broadbent, Cedric Main, JJ Hooper and Callum Ross for their trip to Crosby, Merseyside.

Broadbent is felt to be the closest to a return to action, with hopes that he will be back in contention within a week.

Dillon Morse is available again after recovering from a groin injury, but the Mariners are expected to ease him back into the squad by building match fitness with the club’s Academy teams.

Information for supporters

Kick-off in Saturday’s game at the Marine Travel Arena – which has a post code of L23 3AS – is at 3pm and admission prices are £10 for adults, £6 for over-65s, students and those aged 14 to 17, £3 for children aged 11 to 13 and free for under-11s.

Tickets can also be purchased in advance by clicking here.

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