A blistering start set the tone for a comfortable victory for South Shields as they saw off Stourbridge to seal their place in the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy for the first time on Tuesday.
The Mariners found themselves 3-0 up inside the first 11 minutes as goals from Jon Shaw, Jason Gilchrist and Blair Adams put the Glassboys to the sword.
Robert Briggs made it 4-0 from the penalty spot before half-time and although Stourbridge produced a spirited second half display, they were unable to find a way past Myles Boney in the Shields goal.
Stourbridge forced a replay in the original third qualifying round fixture a week earlier with a stoppage time equaliser, but this time they had no answer and it was the Mariners who booked a first round tie at home to Southport on Saturday, December 14.
Shields looked like a team on a mission from the first whistle and took the lead in just the fourth minute.
Nathan Lowe picked out Craig Baxter on the inside-right of the box and his clipped cross was headed in by captain Shaw at the back post as he notched his fifth goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later the hosts doubled their lead after some scintillating build-up play which concluded as Shaw ran in behind on the right of the area and squared the ball for Gilchrist to slide in from close range as he got in front of his marker.
The tie appeared as good as over when Adams sprinted beyond the defence on the left and fired past Stourbridge goalkeeper Charlie Price, with the Mariners swarming all over their opponents as they made their dominance on the ball count.
A strong penalty appeal for a challenge on Baxter was turned down and Shields went close again as Gilchrist played in Lowe on the left and his drilled effort across goal went narrowly past the post and a stretching Shaw.
Midway through the first half, the Mariners hit the crossbar in their search for a fourth as Hunter motored in behind and fired in a cross which Briggs fired against the woodwork.
Ten minutes before half-time, goal number four did arrive as Gilchrist was tripped in the area and Briggs successfully converted from the spot.
Lowe went close to adding his name to the scoresheet two minutes into the second half but his whipped cross from the left dropped just past Price’s post.
Briggs dinked an effort not far over from distance and also had a terrific 25 yard shot saved by Price, while at the other end Anthony Dwyer drilled against the post from the edge of the area.
The visitors hit the woodwork again seven minutes before the end as Alex Nicholls found Andre Landell and he struck the crossbar, but the Mariners saw out the game with a clean sheet to book their place in round one.
They are back in action on Saturday when they welcome third-placed Warrington Town to Mariners Park for an important league game.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams (Charlton 25), Turnbull, Morse, Brown, Baxter, Briggs, Gilchrist, Lowe (Jenkins 77), Shaw (c) (Alli 57). Subs not used: Coombe, Wade, Hodgson, Odelusi.
Goals: Shaw (4), Gilchrist (6), Adams (11), Briggs (pen 36).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.
South Shields and Stourbridge will battle it out for the right to host Southport in the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy when the sides go head-to-head at Mariners Park on Tuesday.
The third qualifying round tie went to a replay after a stoppage time equaliser from Stourbridge on home turf last Tuesday.
Shields had led thanks to a first half Jason Gilchrist strike and were dominant for the first half before the hosts hit back after the break.
Midfielder Nathan Lowe insists that if the Mariners can replicate last week’s first half performance for a longer period this time around, they should be confident about their chances of progressing.
He said: “There were a lot of disappointed lads in the dressing room last Tuesday because it felt like a loss.
“We grafted for 90 minutes and conceded from a long throw, but we have to look at the positives.
“We had a journey of more than five hours and would we have taken a replay beforehand? Probably.
“With the situation of the game, it felt like a loss but we’ve worked hard since then and go into this match in high spirits.”
Lowe wants Shields to be more clinical in front of goal when opportunities arrive on Tuesday.
He added: “We had three clear-cut chances in the first half and we’ve got to finish them.
“My mate (Jason Gilchrist) knows he missed a couple, but he’ll bounce back like we all will.
“We’ve all worked hard over the last week and go into this game with confidence.”
Shields’ superb first half performance at Stourbridge was not matched after the break.
Lowe admits they are searching for more consistency with their performances as they strive to reach the same levels across 90 minutes.
He said: “They were always going to come out and have a go in the second half last week.
“We passed them off the park in the first half, played some really good stuff and cut them open, so they were obviously going to get a bit of a rifle at half-time.
“We just had to continue to play football the way we had been but it was a poor second half performance and we’ve been working hard to put it right.
“We’ve got to put on a performance at Mariners and show everyone what we can do.”
Shields remain without injured duo Luke Daly and Josh Gillies heading into Tuesday’s 7.45pm kick-off at Mariners Park, with Adam Thurston also expected to miss out with an ankle injury.
Admission prices – which can be paid at the turnstiles – are £10 for adults, £8 for students and over-65s, and £3 for under-16s.
South Shields conceded a stoppage time equaliser as they were forced to settle for a draw in their Buildbase FA Trophy trip to Stourbridge on Tuesday.
The Mariners played some superb football in the first half but went in at the break with just a Jason Gilchrist goal to show for their dominance.
It was a different story after half-time as Stourbridge demonstrated improvement, and they equalised three minutes into stoppage time to ensure the sides will need to do it all again in a replay at Mariners Park next Tuesday.
Shields were left frustrated after failing to capitalise on a superb opening to the game.
They almost opened the scoring within the first minute as Gilchrist held the ball up before laying it off to Lee Mason, who fired narrowly over.
After a period of patient possession, the Mariners made the breakthrough in the 17th minute.
Robert Briggs collected the ball in space 30 yards from goal and played it brilliantly into the feet of Gilchrist, who took a touch before rifling into the bottom corner to continue his impressive goalscoring form.
He looked certain to double his tally for the night two minutes later when he was again played in by a through ball, but this time he rounded goalkeeper Charlie Price and hit an effort wide from a tight angle.
Shields were repeatedly carving their opponents open and getting in behind, with Adam Thurston the next to be presented with an opportunity but he dragged a shot wide from a similar position to the one Gilchrist scored from.
Stourbridge retreated for the remainder of the half and will have been pleased to go in at the break just one goal behind.
They regrouped at the interval and looked a much-improved threat in the second half, with half-time substitute Tom Tonks firing the first warning as his shot from the right was palmed away by Myles Boney.
Shields still possessed a threat of their own and pressurised their hosts with a period of four consecutive corners, without being able to test Price in the Stourbridge goal.
Tom Turton thought he had levelled for the hosts when his piledriver from 25 yards arrowed towards the roof of the net, but Boney brilliantly tipped it over to maintain the Mariners’ advantage.
Gilchrist could have killed the game off at the other end as Briggs again played him in, but this time he lost his balance after rounding Price and fired over.
Three minutes into stoppage time and with Shields having almost seen off the home side’s threat, Stourbridge equalised as Tonks sent a long throw into the box from the right and amid a sea of bodies, the ball was headed in.
With Stourbridge having already fallen several games behind in their league campaign they were keen to avoid a replay, so sent goalkeeper Price forward for a further long throw.
Shields were able to clear this time, though, meaning the sides will do it all again next Tuesday.
Before that, the Mariners face an enthralling derby with Morpeth Town in the BetVictor Northern Premier Division on Saturday.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Baxter, Adams, Shaw (c), Morse, Turnbull, Thurston, Briggs, Gilchrist (Jenkins 90+3), Lowe, Mason (Odelusi 61). Subs not used: Wokoma, Charlton, Alli.
Goal: Gilchrist (17).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Jak Lewis.