Seven games remaining to define Shields’ season

Putting their Wembley distraction aside, North Shields still have seven league fixtures remaining and are still in with a shout of being champions in their first season back in the top flight.

Despite still being a tall order, Graham Fenton’s lads will give their all as the run-in approaches.

The management trio of Fenton, Andy Bowman and Brian Smith face the small matter of a midweek derby with Whitley Bay on Wednesday night, then host Durham City on Saturday before a third successive home game at the Daren Persson Stadium sees Bedlington travel on Wednesday, April 11.

A short trip to Dunston UTS is lined up for Saturday, April 18, before Morpeth head Shields way the following Wednesday.

The Robins wind up their league matches with visits to Sunderland RCA and Celtic Nation on April 25 and 28 respectively.

Then there is the other game – the FA Vase final.

In that treble campaign of 1968-9 Ron Tatum and his merry men secured their Wembley final place with a semi replay victory over Skelmersdale United on March 22.

Between then and the FA Amateur Cup Final on April 12 they played four matches.

Frank Brennan’s Braves beat Shildon and Penrith in the Northern League and Spennymoor in the League Cup semi final and a Tommy Orrick strike at Croft Park secured a place in the Northumberland Senior Cup Final.

The ‘69 lads still had a lot to do after that triumph on Wembley turf – winning 12 and drawing one inside 26 days – but Shields is buzzing again now with all hoping skipper Kevin Hughes will be holding that Vase aloft on May 9.