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NPL Match Preview: South Shields vs Whitby Town


Whitby Town provide the opposition as South Shields play their first home Boxing Day match since 2016 (3pm kick-off).


It will be the Mariners' first action since December 3rd, with the last three fixtures having been postponed due to frozen pitches.


An entertaining encounter is expected against a Whitby side which has improved markedly since losing six and drawing one of their first seven games.


Since Nathan Haslam took sole charge in mid-September, the Seasiders have won seven, drawn three and lost four of their 14 matches, results which have seen them climb to 16th.


Shields, meanwhile, lead the division on goal difference from Hyde United, and know maximum points should see them end the calendar year on top of the league.


Manager's views


Manager Kevin Phillips is satisfied with the condition of his Shields players heading into Monday’s game after some solid work on the training field.


He said: “The last three weeks have been challenging for every team at this level, not just in terms of having matches postponed but also trying to find suitable venues to train and keeping players motivated.


“Periods like this can sometimes affect the fitness of teams, but the players are looking fresh and have shown great professionalism in this time without a game.


“We’ve tried to keep the balance right in terms of the training, and we think we’ve done that well thanks to a lot of hard work behind the scenes.


“The goal has been to make sure the players are able to pick up where they left off fitness-wise, and I think they’re in a great position to do that.”


Shields’ last outing was against Ashton United, when they conceded two late goals as a 3-1 lead became a 3-3 draw.


Phillips added: “The outcome against Ashton showed what can happen if you switch off for five minutes, and it’s something we’ve addressed to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.


“Whitby are in good form and won at our ground at the end of last season to end our hopes of automatic promotion.


“They’re a different proposition now and will be desperate to beat us again, but we’re in a good position and aiming to maintain our place at the top.


“Our fans will play a massive part on such a big festive occasion, and we’re looking forward to seeing them with plenty of smiles on their faces after what we hope will be a brilliant day with their families.


“They make a huge difference to us, as we’ve seen so many times this season, and hopefully we can send them home happy for one final time in 2022.”


Team news


Shields are hoping to have a full-strength squad to choose from for the game.


Information for supporters


The turnstiles will open at 12pm ahead of kick-off at 3pm.


Tickets are priced at £12 for adults, £9 for students, over-65s and disabled supporters, £5 for those aged 13 to 16 and £3 for under-12s. A £2 upgrade is available for those wishing to seat – but this is only available for those who purchase tickets in advance.


Supporters can buy tickets in advance by clicking here or pay at the turnstiles. Turnstile 2 will accept cash, with all other turnstiles to accept card only. There is no segregation in place at this fixture.


This is the first match at which part-season tickets will be valid.


Happy Hour pricing will be in operation in all bars between 12pm and 1.30pm, with a second Happy Hour to begin immediately following the final whistle and last until 6pm.


Supporters can enjoy entertainment in the new sports bar after the game, with a karaoke and a disco.


A match programme, packed with content, is available to purchase for £3 and also acts as a raffle ticket, with one lucky programme holder to win four tickets for our game against Marine on January 7th. Check the back of your programme for your lucky number, with the winner to be drawn at half-time.

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