Shields boss is already relishing the challenge of new season

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NORTH Shields FC manager Graham Fenton is relishing the forthcoming promotion challenge following the release of the 2012-13 fixture list.

He will take his side to relegated Jarrow Roofing for the opening fixture in the newly-named Ebac Northern League on Saturday, August 18.

Morpeth Town – opponents in the League Cup – will travel to the Daren Persson Stadium at Ralph Gardner Park on Wednesday, August 22, but other early season games are dependent on FA Cup and FA Vase commitments.

Fenton and assistant Andy Bowman are looking to bring in a number of new acquisitions to blend with the main core of last season’s players but one definite absentee will be young centre back Danny Bowlt who is about to embark on a college course in the United States.

Friendly matches already announced include Whitley Bay (home) on Friday, July 13; Gala Fairydene (away), on Saturday, July 21; Ashington (home), Wednesday, August 1; and Percy Main (away), Saturday, August 4.

At the recent Northern League Dinner, BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown fondly remembered his first introduction to the competition was when he reported on the North Shields v Blyth Spartans clash which ended 2-2 in October 1982.

That was to be a special season for the Shieldsmen for just a month later the Robins triumphed 1-0 at Halifax Town in the FA Cup, the only scalp of a league club so far in the club’s history.

Peter Flaherty was the manager, Bede McCaffrey scored the all-important goal – and what a beauty it was – and it is hoped that during the coming season a reunion of the squad to celebrate the 30th anniversary can be arranged.

The North Shields side on that memorable day was Tony Harrison, John Waterson, George Dickson, David Varty (Frank Cassidy, 42 mins), Jimmy Harmison, Ray Young, Geoff Smith, Bobby Doig, Paul Ross, Ian Donaldson, Bede McCaffrey.