South Shields were eliminated from the Buildbase FA Trophy after a 5-3 defeat on penalties at Marine on Saturday.
The third qualifying round tie was decided on spot-kicks following a goalless and largely uneventful 90 minutes at the Marine Travel Arena.
All but one of the nine penalties taken were scored as the Merseysiders made it through to the first round of the competition.
Both teams struggled to find rhythm in the early stages, although Shields were on top in the possession stakes as they probed for an opening.
Conor Tee glanced a header wide and a better opportunity fell the way of Darius Osei midway through the first half when he skipped past a defender and ran towards goal, only for Marine goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant to close the angle and smother his shot.
The Mariners went on to enjoy their best spell of the game and the closest they came was a powerful strike by Will McGowan which blasted against a defender and behind for a corner.
Osei and Tee also saw efforts from outside the area gathered by Passant, who was an influential figure in the first 45 minutes.
Shields were unable to seriously test him after the break, although Nathan Lowe had a good sight of goal in the 64th minute when he was teed up on the edge of the box but fired wide.
Marine almost broke the deadlock less than two minutes later as Mark Howarth teased a free-kick from the left onto the head of substitute Dean Winnard, who directed the ball inches past the post.
Neither team would truly threaten a goal after that as the tie drifted towards penalties. Shields’ brightest moment was a driving run from the left by Blair Adams, who played a give-and-go with Tee before placing a shot wide.
A penalty shootout had looked the likely outcome for most of the game, and so it proved.
In a high-quality sequence of spot-kicks, neither goalkeeper was able to make a save as penalties were regularly sent into the corners of the net.
Robert Briggs, Sam Hodgson and Osei all converted for the Mariners, but Tee sent his effort over the bar to provide Niall Cummins with the chance to send Marine into the first round.
He made no mistake to seal the home side’s victory as they continued their impressive form in cup competitions, having remarkably made it all the way to the third round of the Emirates FA Cup last season and the final qualifying round of the competition this term.
Shields are now left to solely focus on their challenge in the Pitching In Northern Premier League, having also been eliminated from the Durham Challenge Cup this week.
They travel to Atherton Collieries in the league next Saturday as they look for a return to winning ways.
South Shields: Boney, Martin, Adams (c), Shaw (Bodenham 20), Morse, Ross, Osei, McGowan (Briggs 72), Main (Hodgson 82), Lowe, Tee. Subs not used: Steavens, Neary, Kempster, Massanka.
Image: Kev Wilson.