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Match Preview: North Shields v Ashington (07/03/20)

The Robins will be looking for revenge this Saturday as Ashington make the short trip south to the Daren Persson Stadium for another crucial Northern League Division One tie.

Shields will be entering this game in fine form after the dominant 5-0 win away against mid-table Bishop Auckland, courtesy of goals from Callum Smith, Kyle Patton, Cam Cunningham and an own goal from Michael Hoganson.

They will also be fully refreshed after the midweek league tie against Consett was rearranged to allow the Steelmen the time to prepare for their FA Vase Quarter Final against Atherstone Town.

On the other side of the coin, Ashington have bounced back from difficult defeats to Consett and Stockton Town with a three-game unbeaten run, including a win against Northallerton Town and two draws against Newcastle Benfield and Sunderland RCA.

There are also a number of former Robins in the Colliers squad who might be in contention for Saturday, including Callum Johnston, Drew Eastlake, Daniel Taggart and Curtis Coppen.

However, Shields also poses two former Ashington players in Wayne Buchanan and Gareth Bainbridge, the latter of who recently broke the Robins post-war goalscoring record with a penalty against Ryhope CW.

The last time we faced the Colliers this season, an early Ryan Carr goal was not enough as two late goals for Ashington handed us a 2-1 defeat at Woodhorn Lane.

And the last time Ashington visited the Daren Persson Stadium, despite dominating the game, the Robins conceded a last-second goal to fall to a 1-0 defeat.

A win on Saturday for Shields would potentially help close them to within two points of third place, with Shildon and Hebburn Town facing each other at the Energy Check Sports Ground.

However, if Ashington were to pick up all three points, they would jump above Whitley Bay and Seaham Red Star into 14th place.

There will be question marks over the availability of Ryan Carr and Wayne Buchanan, with both unavailable for the trip to Bishop Auckland last weekend. However, aside from that, manager Marc Nash has an almost entirely fit squad to select from.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game, Nash was excited to face a club which he once represented as a player.

“Ashington always bring up some memories for me as the last club I played for,” explained Nash.

“I have a lot of respect for the people behind the scenes, especially from the Portland Park days.

“Three of my students from TyneMet college are in the Ashington playing squad.

“It’s been fantastic to see them develop over the past three years but for Saturday, all that goes on hold.”