An exciting run that saw Shildon come so close to an FA Cup First Round tie against Gateshead has had consequences for the Railwaymen’s Northern League campaign. On the face of it sitting in mid-table in the league seems almost catastrophic for the County Durham outfit but a closer inspection of their statistics seems them have six games in hands on leaders West Auckland Town. If they were to win those games they would go four points clear of West in what is seen as the most open battle for the Northern League Division One title in many a year.
Shildon face a tough trip to Whitley Bay on Saturday and as any side knows heading to Hillheads can always been tricky. The Bay sit just below mid-table in the division and are yet to hit form this season but with the likes of Peter Watling, Paul Chow and Paul Robinson in their side are always capable of surprising any side on their day.
Recent form for the Seahorses has really summed up their league form over the season. In their last six league fixtures they have won two, lost three and drawn one. During midweek they were hammered 6-2 at Second Division Seaham Red Star in the League Cup.
Shildon are shaking off the disappointment of their FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round defeat to Norton United, who were dismantled in the First Round proper by Gary Mills’ Gateshead side. Cup football has dominated their landscape for the last ten games with seven of those games coming in four different competitions.
Their last league fixture was a 4-1 home win over Celtic Nation but they did lost their last away league fixture at Bishop Auckland a single goal. Shildon need a win to kickstart their fightback in the Northern League and who would bet against them at the Bay. Either way it should be a cracker.
MATCH INFORMATION KICK OFF TIME: 3pm
GROUND ADDRESS: Hillheads Park, Rink Way, off Hillheads Road, Whitley
Bay, Tyne & Wear. NE25 8HR
TICKET PRICES: £6 adults, £4 concessions (over 60s and under 14s)
LOCAL METRO STATION: Whitley Bay or Monkseaton, it’s a ten minute walk from either to the Ground that is beside the Ice Rink
LOCAL PUBS: Foxhunters, The Seahorse Club(at Hillheads)
COUNTY DURHAM: Spennymoor Town v Leek Town (FA Trophy), Durham City v North Shields (NLD1)
GATESHEAD: Dunston UTS v Guisborough Town (NLD1), Ryton and Crawcrook Albion v Stokesley (NLD2)
SOUTH TYNESIDE: Jarrow Roofing v Celtic Nation (NLD1), Hebburn Town v Washington (NLD2)
WEARSIDE: Seaham Red Star v Esh Winning, Ryhope CW v Team Northumbria (NLD2)
NORTHUMBERLAND: Blyth Spartans v Halesowen (FA Trophy), Bedlington Terriers v West Allotment Celtic (NLD1)
MARK CARRUTHERS, FOR THE LOVE OF FOOTBALL