There will be a capacity crowd inside Mariners Park on Saturday afternoon hoping to see Ebac Northern League club South Shields beat Midland League side Coleshill Town and reach the final of the Buildbase FA Vase.
Shields won the first leg of their Semi-Final away from home last week, thanks to a last-minute goal by Andrew Stephenson, but they know that victory tomorrow in front of an all-ticket gate that will be more than the ground record of 3,161, won’t be a formality.
Joint-manager Lee Picton said: “I don’t think there will be any complacency going into the second leg. There shouldn’t be, because they caused us problems. If we had come away with a two or three-goal lead, there might have been a bit of complacency, but there shouldn’t be any whatsoever in this situation.
“We were obviously delighted to take a 2-1 lead from the first leg, but there were lots of holes in our performance last Saturday and lots of things that needed to be addressed ahead of this weekend. Although we’re in the lead, we’re in danger of going out of the competition if we repeat the performance levels we generally showed last Saturday.
“I have to pick out Julio Arca from last week’s game. Julio looked the fittest player on the pitch, at 36 years old. His recovery runs, his tackles, and sheer desire and determination to win were fantastic.
“I really hope we do it for a lot of people. For the town, for the supporters – who again we have to mention, because they give us incredible support on Saturday and will do so again this weekend – but for people like Julio, who you can tell is desperate to go to Wembley.
Former Sunderland and Boro midfielder Arca said: “It’s massive for me and massive for the club. We’re so close to making history for the club, and everyone knows that. You could tell that we were under pressure a little bit last weekend. We showed some nerves at the beginning, but it’s normal. At this stage of a competition like this, you will feel the nerves. This week, we’re playing at home and are going to have a lot of fans coming to support us. We need to start the game a lot better and I’m sure if we do that we’ll be all right.”
Midfielder David Foley added: “We know it’s going to be a really big crowd, and hopefully they can help to inspire us like they did in the quarter-final. We’re not there yet, so there’s no point in getting carried away. It’s only half-time in the tie and we’ve got another game yet. It’s 90 minutes and we know what we can do. I’m sure they’ll still fancy themselves as well. It’s up to us to prepare right, which we have, and go again”.