On Tuesday (kick off 7:45), Celtic are in FA Trophy action with a tough opening fixture against league leaders, South Shields. South Shields are currently first in the league on thirty-two points, ten places and thirteen points ahead of Celtic.
South Shields have only lost twice this season: once, 1-0, at home to Hyde back at the start of the season and once in their last away match, 3-1 to Witton Albion. The only other points they have dropped this season were in a goalless draw away at Scarborough and, in their last game, a 1-1 draw at home to Grantham. They went on an eight game winning streak starting with a 4-1 win at home to Bamber Bridge, and finishing with the 2-1 win at home to us, where we were close to ending it sooner.
Robert Briggs is their top scorer, scoring five of their twenty-five goals. Those goals have come at a rate of 1.7 goals per game (1.3 per away game), only two other teams have scored more, but due to their number of games, they have the fifth best attack on goals per game. At the other end, they have the best defence in the league, conceding only nine all season home and away (five away). They have kept seven clean sheets (three away) and failed to score just twice (once at home to Hyde and once away, to Scarborough).
Earlier this season, like last season, we came within a whisker of getting a draw after Chris Smalley equalised until a harsh stoppage time penalty gave South Shields all three points. Last season, South Shields won both games against us, 1-0 at our place, and 3-2 at theirs, with Lee Mason twice pulling them level after Neil Kengni twice gave Celtic the lead, only for a stoppage time winner from Josh Gillies.
In South Shield's last match, the 1-1 home draw to Grantham, they lined up as:
1. Myles Boney
2. Jordan Hunter
3. Blair Adams
4. Phil Turnbull
5. Dillon Morse
6. Gary Brown
7. Craig Baxter
8. Robert Briggs
9. Jason Gilchrist
10. Nathan Lowe
11. Sanmi Odelusi
Celtic had a really good win away against a strong Warrington Town side. In that match, we lined up as:
1. Alex Fojtíček
2. Declan Walker
3. Kallum Mantack
4. Ross Dent
5. Stephen O'Halloran
6. Chris Smalley
7. Scott Bakkor
8. Anthony Whitehead
9. Craig Hobson
10. Darius Osei
11. Jonathan Ustabasi
In a way, this is win-win for Celtic. Going up against the league leaders is tough, so a win would be a bonus. Given Celtic's previous game in the North East, we are capable of winning. Although keeping us in the hat, a draw would involve going back to Newcastle on a Tuesday night and rescheduling the Cheshire Senior Cup match, again, with Altrincham.
|Home win||Atherton Collieries||3-0||Sat 5th Oct|
|Away win||FC United Of Manchester||0-2||Tue 1st Oct|
|Home defeat||Hyde United||0-1||Sat 24th Aug|
|Away defeat||Witton Albion||3-1||Sat 12th Oct|
|Home score||Bamber Bridge||4-1||Sat 31st Aug|
|Away score||Witton Albion||3-1||Sat 12th Oct|