North Shields determined to get FA Vase defence off to a good start

North Shields manager Graham Fenton with the FA Vase. Picture by Ian Warde
North Shields manager Graham Fenton with the FA Vase. Picture by Ian Warde

North Shields begin the defence of the FA Vase they won at Wembley back in May this weekend.

Local Northern League rivals Ashington are the visitors to Daren Persson Stadium for a 3pm kick-off.

The Robins received a bye through the early rounds while their opponents have already come through two rounds.

Shields boss Graham Fenton is upbeat as his side get ready to begin the defence of the trophy.

“We’ve been eagerly awaiting our turn but this is a tie that neither us or Steve Harmison’s side would really have wanted,” he said.

“We have a lot of friends at Ashington, they know a lot about us as we do about them.

“Injuries have meant an inconsistent campaign so far but we’ve so much calibre in the squad that we will be giving it all we can.

“Everyone now wants to beat us after our success and we’ve got to deal with that.

“Just because you’ve won a competition it doesn’t stop you getting knocked out at the first hurdle the next year.

“When I was at Leicester we won the League Cup but lost to Grimsby at the first hurdle the following season.

“We would love to go all the way again, it is still hard to take in just what we achieved last season, the lads said that weekend was the best of their lives.”

New acquisition Brad Brooking, signed from Durham City, while cup-tied and Jack Walker has joined Seaham Red Star.

The Colliers will travel again to Shields on Wednesday, November 25, should there be no need for a Vase replay, in the Northumberland Senior Cup, with a 7.30pm kick-off.

Recent encounters between the sides saw the Robins complete a league double last season with goals from Curtis Coppen, Gareth Bainbridge and Denver Morris earning a 3-2 home win and John Parker and Adam Forster strikes securing a 2-1 win at Woodhorn Lane.

In 2012 Ashington won at Shields 2-0 in the Northumberland Senior Cup and in 2008 at home by the same scoreline in an FA Vase tie. Four years earlier they claimed a solitary goal success on Tyneside in the FA Cup.

Before the teams lined up against each other in the Northern League last term it was back in 1983-84 they competed against each other, Shields triumphant 3-2 at home and 2-0 away, as well as a 4-0 County Cup success when a certain Jimmy Harmison was a key member of the Shields side that year.