Morpeth Town 0-4 South Shields: Mariners storm into FA Vase last 16
South Shields produced an outstanding away performance as braces from Gavin Cogdon and David Foley saw them through to the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Vase on Wednesday.
The 4-0 win at Morpeth Town brought to an end an eventful few days for the Mariners, and booked a fifth round trip to Team Solent, which will take place on January 28.
Wednesday’s game was moved to Morpeth’s Craik Park just hours before kick-off, with the problem which forced Saturday’s original tie to be abandoned at Mariners Park having not yet been fully rectified.
Despite that, Shields were backed by a huge away following, with supporters turning out in their hundreds to back the Mariners.
Shields made two changes to the side which started on Saturday, with Cogdon and Michael Richardson selected in place of Carl Finnigan and Andrew Stephenson.
The signs were not good in the early stages, with the Highwaymen starting the better of the two teams, seemingly picking up where they left off on Saturday, when they had held a 4-2 lead.
Sean Taylor – who provided such a threat at Mariners Park – had a glorious opportunity to hand the hosts the lead when he was played in at the back post, but he could only slice his effort over.
Captain Keith Graydon also cleared the bar with a shot from distance as Morpeth began to put pressure on the Shields goal.
However, all of that was alleviated in stunning fashion in the ninth minute.
Foley burst down the left flank and played a ball into the feet of Cogdon in the area, who showed great skill before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
It was not long before the Mariners were celebrating again.
Richardson collected the ball midway inside the Morpeth half and beat the home defence with a stunning through ball into Foley, who took it in his stride and forced it into the bottom corner to spark another huge roar from the big travelling support.
The Highwaymen were handed a lifeline almost immediately when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on the inside-right of the box.
However, Taylor’s effort from the spot went over the bar, and that was to be the closest the hosts would come.
Graydon and Taylor hit shots wide, but there was little more goalmouth action until first half stoppage time.
Shields survived a huge penalty appeal for handball and broke at speed, with Cogdon collecting the ball midway inside the Morpeth half on the left flank.
He dribbled into the area, beat two defenders and then brilliantly dinked the ball into the top corner to put the Mariners into a commanding position going into the break.
Morpeth struggled to find a way back into the game after half-time, and the more it progressed, the more Shields looked the likelier of the two teams to score.
Home goalkeeper Karl Dryden tipped a Cogdon effort onto the post and got up quickly to keep out the rebound from Foley.
Foley also hit a shot not far past the upright, while Michael Richardson was off target with another attempt for the Mariners.
Morpeth were restricted to mainly half-chances, and Foley put the tie to bed with eight minutes remaining.
Substitute Carl Finnigan received the ball on the inside-right of the box and did well to find Foley, who had the time and space to turn in the area before picking out the top corner for his 17th goal of the season – and eighth in three games, not including Saturday’s abandoned match.
As the game ticked into stoppage time, Graydon saw red for the hosts after receiving two bookings.
Shields could have made it five, but Foley missed a great chance for a hat-trick after being played in by Richardson as he put the ball wide.
Robert Briggs also went agonisingly close as he curled a free-kick against the crossbar.
Shields, though, had long since wrapped up a place in round five.
They return to league action on Saturday, with Marske United the visitors to Mariners Park.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Baxter, Nicholson, Shaw, Morse, Arca (c) (Holden 75), Briggs, Phillips (Smith 75), Cogdon (Finnigan 70), Richardson, Foley. Subs not used: Stephenson, Ramsey.
Goals: Cogdon (9, 45+3), Foley (12, 82).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.