The Robins begin their 2020/21 Ebac Northern League Division One campaign tomorrow afternoon when Newton Aycliffe travel to the Daren Persson Stadium.
After a 3-0 defeat to Marske United in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, the Robins will be looking to dust themselves down and go again, with a strong Newton Aycliffe side set to pose a serious test.
Managed by former Team Northumbria manager, the Newtonians have been a side transformed under Colin Stromsoy. Before his arrival, tomorrow’s visitors were a side which often frequented the middle of the Division One table.
However, last season, he had his side sitting in fifth place, with outside hopes of claiming a promotion place, before Covid-19 bought a premature end to the 2019/20 campaign.
Last season, when these two sides faced off against each other, North Shields gained the upper hand, doing the double over their Division One rivals.
At the home leg, hosted at the Daren Persson Stadium, a late goal from loanee Callum Patton helped the Robins claim a late 3-2 win on a rain-affected pitch.
In the away leg, hosted at the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium, the game looked destined for a 0-0 draw, only for Kyle Patton, brother of Callum, to score a winning goal with only seconds remaining in the game.
However, the hosts will be without the services of Kyle, after the forward suffered a serious injury in the second half of their FA Cup defeat. On top of a pre-season injury to Paul Van-Zandvliet, this should open the doors for the likes of Callum Smith, Cam Cunningham and David Robinson, who all started on the bench Tuesday night.
After maintaining most of last season’s strong squad, including the likes of Marc Costello, Andrei-Vasile Ardelean, Liam Jarvie and Adam Burnicle, Stromsoy has further strengthened his Newton Aycliffe side, signing the former Team Northumbria and Hebburn Town forward Ben Dibb-Fuller.
But just like the Robins, they suffered a defeat in the FA Cup, losing to Guisborough Town in agonizing fashion, seeing a late penalty, which would have taken the game to a penalty shootout, saved.
Tomorrow’s game will kick off at 3pm, with a minutes silence to take place before the game to remember those who have lost their lives during these difficult times, including Alan Wilkinson, who we dedicate this game towards.
This game is also an all-ticket affair, due to current Government and FA guidelines relating to the safe return of fans to non-league stadia. If you do not have a ticket to the game, you will not gain entry.