Robins look to avenge Crook defeat

The overnight blanket of snow that wiped out the Northern League fixture list in the north east has added to the Robins backlog.

Saturday’s scheduled trip to Brinkburn Road to face Darlington RA, a side one place above them in the table, has been put on hold alongside the Northern League Cup tie with Bishop Auckland, now set for March 13, as the Bishops instead played a county cup match.

This weekend sees Graham Fenton’s men take on table toppers Crook Town at the Daren Persson Stadium (3pm).

North Shields have lost just two of their last 22 league and cup outings and one of those was at Crook’s Millfield Ground 3-1 in October, where Rob Nolan was the Robins scorer.

Currently Shields possess rather quirky statistics having accumulated exactly 50 points from 25 games, winning 15, drawing five and losing five – their goal difference is plus 25 and have scored 25 home league strikes.

The Robins boss welcomes back skipper Dan Patterson and keeper Michael Robinson into his squad, though midfielders Michael McKeown and Adam Forster will undergo fitness checks before the game.

After Crook, Thornaby line up on Wednesday, March 6 (7.30pm), Shields still having to face fellow promotion hopefuls Jarrow Roofing (home) and Morpeth (away) as well as ‘doubles’ with mid-table outfits West Allotment Celtic, Chester-le-Street and Tow Law Town.

The Robins and Crook are old adversaries and first met in a Northern League clash back in 1964-5, Shields winning on Tyneside by 3-1, Brian O’Hara (2) and Don Winskill the marksmen.

At Ralph Gardner Park in 2010-11 the Shieldsmen triumphed 5-2 in a league cup tie thanks to braces from Andy Bowman and Mark Rasmussen with Keith Douglas also on target but later in that campaign they went down 0-1 with points at stake.

Last season on home soil Shields lost 2-4 (Adam Rowntree, Dean Holmes) though their away record is impressive, having won five times and drawn twice on their last nine visits.