South Shields came through a pulsating extra-time period as they got the better of Farsley Celtic in a thrilling Buildbase FA Trophy tie on Tuesday.
On a dramatic night at Mariners Park, five goals were scored in extra-time, but Robert Briggs’ strike three minutes from the end was ultimately enough to steer Shields into the second qualifying round with a 4-3 win.
Twice Farsley had battled back from the brink of defeat, scoring two minutes into second half stoppage time to force the tie to extra-time, and then netting twice in the space of a minute in the second half of extra-time to level things up after falling 3-1 behind.
Briggs ultimately finished the Yorkshire side off with his second goal of the night to seal Shields’ place in the second qualifying round, where they face a trip to Stafford Rangers on Saturday, November 11.
Shields almost went out of the competition in the original tie against Farsley on Saturday, with Carl Finnigan scoring a stoppage time penalty to secure a replay.
The Mariners picked up where they left off on Tuesday, opening the scoring in the third minute.
Some neat football on the right led to Matty Pattison getting in behind, and his dinked cross was expertly headed down by Gavin Cogdon and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Graeme McKibbin.
It was exactly the sort of start the Mariners needed to get another four-figure crowd right behind them, and they penned their opponents back in the period which followed.
Cogdon in particular was a constant threat to the Farsley back-line, who were struggling to handle him.
His next effort saw him beat his man before bringing the ball forward and whistling a shot just over the bar from 25 yards.
The striker went close again after another good move from the Mariners on the right, with Alex Nicholson sliding in an inviting low cross, only for Cogdon to see his goalbound effort blocked.
The hosts were knocking at the door in search of goal number two, but it was to prove elusive.
Finnigan just failed to get clean contact on a delicious delivery by Nicholson, while Briggs sent a volley over after a whipped cross from Anthony Callaghan.
EVO-STIK Premier Division high-flyers Farsley posed a threat, and reminded Shields of that when Liam Connell was forced into a smart stop, pushing a James Pollard free-kick around the post.
Another foray forward from the visitors led to a powerful low effort which Julio Arca did well to block, but it was mainly Shields doing the attacking, with McKibbin keeping out attempts from Pattison and Briggs.
Farsley came out for the second half with added impetus, and within seconds of the restart almost got back on level terms when substitute Adam Porritt – brought on at half-time – volleyed not far past the post.
They away team continued to grow in confidence, and went closer to equalising when Connell made an impressive low save from Isaac Baldwin, before the rebound was sent well over the bar.
There were opportunities at both ends, with Pattison for Shields and Chris Atkinson for Farsley hitting efforts just wide.
The visitors committed more men forward in the closing stages as they tried to get back on level terms. Dillon Morse blocked well from James Walshaw, Porritt fired wide from 20 yards and then Walshaw headed a presentable opportunity wide after getting on the end of a delivery from deep.
After coming through that period, Shields could have wrapped it up when substitute Andrew Stephenson played a perfectly-weighted pass through to Briggs, but McKibbin produced a tremendous low save to tip the ball wide.
Farsley were rewarded for their second half endeavours two minutes into stoppage time as Ryan Watson collected the ball 25 yards out and arrowed an effort past Connell and into the corner.
Having been so close to booking their place in the next round, Shields had it all to do again.
Their job was made a huge lot easier two minutes into the first half of extra-time when Cogdon dummied and allowed the ball to run through for Briggs, who flicked it past his defender before curling a superb effort into the bottom corner.
Farsley became increasingly frustrated after falling 2-1 behind, and it was not until the second half of extra-time that they started to show their threat going forward again.
Adam Clayton headed just over from a deep free-kick, while Walshaw hit one just past the post after pouncing on a loose ball.
Shields were on the look-out for a breakaway goal, and after twice going close through Pattison and Stephenson – with the latter seeing a goalbound effort hacked clear – they did get their third of the night.
Stephenson received the ball in space 25 yards out and drove further into it before burying the ball beyond the reach of McKibbin.
At 3-1 up with just 10 minutes to play, the Mariners appeared to be just about there. However, there was to be a nasty sting in the tail.
Farsley pulled one back when Baldwin’s cross from the left was met by the head of captain Danny Ellis, who guided it into the far corner.
Just 17 seconds after the restart, Farsley were incredibly back on level terms as Luke Parkin tried his luck from 25 yards and managed to hammer a low effort beyond Connell to stun Mariners Park.
The goal provided another big test of Shields’ character, but they undoubtedly passed it.
With penalties looming, Pattison got in behind on the inside-right of the box and hit a shot which McKibbin parried. The ball broke the way of Briggs, who did not get clean contact on it, but did enough to beat the despairing defenders in front of him as it crept over the line.
This time, there was to be no way back for Farsley, who tried to exert some late pressure but were unable to do so.
Shields had got over the line, and won one of the most entertaining games played at Mariners Park since the club’s return from Peterlee over two years ago.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Nicholson, Callaghan, Lough, Morse, Arca (c), Smith (Stephenson 74), Briggs, Cogdon (Sullivan 105), Pattison, Finnigan (Storey 74). Subs not used: Norton, Baxter.
Goals: Cogdon (3), Briggs (92, 117), Stephenson (110).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.