South Shields made it 14 goals in three games with a stunning demolition of Workington in the quarter-final of the Integro Cup on Thursday.
The Mariners stormed to a 5-1 victory away to their higher-ranked opponents, with five of the club’s academy starlets in the starting line-up.
They always looked a step ahead of Workington, and goals from Lee Mason, Barrie Smith, Luke Sullivan, Graeme Armstrong and Dan Lowther secured a comfortable passage into the semi-finals.
Shields started well in Cumbria, with Armstrong denied by an impressive save early on, while Aksel Juul also went close.
A deserved breakthrough arrived in the 16th minute when Smith slipped in Mason on the inside-right of the box and he superbly fired into the roof of the net to register his first goal for the club.
With their first shot of the game, the hosts equalised midway through the first half when Tommy Whitehead broke through on the inside-right of the box and squared for Max Brown, who made no mistake from close range.
Shields stayed on top, and were given a golden opportunity to reclaim the lead 12 minutes into the second half when Armstrong was fouled in the area.
Smith took the responsibility and stroked his penalty into the bottom corner via the post to begin another spell of dominance from the Mariners.
Sullivan was brought on immediately after the goal as he made his first appearance for Shields since returning from a two-month loan spell at Bishop Auckland.
He could not have asked for a quicker impact as, with his first touch, he controlled a cross from the left with his chest before brilliantly dinking the ball over the goalkeeper to make it 3-1.
Brown chipped over at the other end, while Workington goalkeeper Aaran Taylor made a fine stop to keep out an Armstrong header, and tipped another effort from the frontman onto the bar.
It seemed a matter of time until Shields sealed their win, and their fourth goal was registered with 13 minutes left.
A ball through the centre was ran onto by Armstrong, who slotted home to score his deserved goal.
There was still time for academy midfielder Lowther to get in on the act.
He played in Armstrong down the right and, although his effort was saved, the ball was kept alive and Lowther saw one shot blocked before rifling the rebound into the roof of the net.
It was as convincing a victory as Shields could have hoped for as they booked their place in the semi-finals.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Woolston, Biwer, O Scott (Kavanagh 67), Shaw (c) (Morse 46), Patterson, Ross, Smith, Lowther, Armstrong, Mason (Sullivan 58), Juul. Sub not used: Guy.
Goals: Mason (16), Smith (pen 57), Sullivan (58), Armstrong (77), Lowther (80).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.
Striker Luke Sullivan has completed a month-long loan switch to Bishop Auckland.
The 27-year-old moves to Heritage Park in a bid to boost his match fitness after returning from a month-long holiday.
Since joining South Shields from Consett last summer, Sullivan has made 19 appearances for the Mariners in all competitions, scoring six goals.
Sullivan’s move sees him link up with former Shields players including Scott Pocklington, Ibby Hassan and Warren Byrne.
Good luck, Luke!
South Shields booked their place in the third round of the Integro League Cup on Tuesday with a deserved win over Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Michael Richardson and Luke Sullivan were on target in a 2-1 victory for Shields on a bitterly cold night at Mariners Park.
Graham Fenton and Lee Picton had made six changes from the team which drew 0-0 at Prescot Cables in the league three days earlier.
Among those brought in for their first starts of the season were Harrison Scott and academy prospect Ethan Biwer, and both players impressed in the full-back positions.
The Mariners were on the front foot from the start, and went close early on when Matty Pattison swung in a delivery which goalkeeper David Reay did well to hold.
A number of other half chances came and went before Richardson broke the deadlock two minutes before half-time.
Pattison slid a pass beyond the defence for Sullivan, who touched it past Reay and then fired across goal for Richardson to tap home.
He could have added another less than a minute later, but his effort from a tight angle went narrowly wide.
Stocksbridge were dangerous on the rare occasions they were able to get forward, and Rory Coleman forced Jack Norton into a decent save with an effort from distance.
Jamie Holmes was a constant thorn in the visitors’ side, and almost put them two behind when his powerful drive was tipped over by Reay.
Reay again proved to be Holmes’ nemesis when the Shields frontman got on the end of a flowing move and was denied by the foot of the goalkeeper.
Dillon Morse and Scott also saw good efforts kept out by Reay, who had done brilliantly to keep his team in with a chance.
Biwer could have got on the scoresheet as the game ticked into the latter stages, but his effort was brilliantly blocked, while at the other end, Coleman had a shot deflected wide from distance.
The tie looked to have been put to bed when Sullivan rattled in an 89th minute penalty after being brought down by Reay.
Just seconds later, though, substitute Oliver Warren pulled one back for the Steels to make it a nervy ending for the home side.
However, Shields saw the result out to claim their place in the third round.
They are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Ramsbottom United in the league.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Norton, Scott, Biwer, Briggs (c), Morse, Storey, Richardson, Pattison (Baxter 46), Sullivan, Stephenson, Holmes. Subs not used: Connell, Shaw, Finnigan.
Goals: Richardson (43), Sullivan (pen 89).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.