North Shields set themselves up perfectly for what they perceived would be an FA Vase replay two days later in deepest Cheshire.
Peter Glen-Ravenhill was the Shields matchwinner away to Newton Aycliffe, but this was essentially a team victory masterminded by manager Graham Fenton.
The Shieldsmen, even with a changed side, inflicted a first home defeat upon an Aycliffe outfit who were top of the form table.
The pitch condition was not good but perfectly playable and the hosts lined up with their prolific pairing of Matty Moffat and John Campbell up front.
Shields gave the Vase cup-tied defender Brad Brooking a first outing whilst new acquisition Shaun Gadsby took a place up front and Jordan Summerly, freed from suspension, relished a starting role.
Aycliffe pressed from the off but Curtis Coppen, alongside the outstanding John Parker at the heart of the Shields back line, were not to be broken.
A couple of opportunities came and were spurned, one notably from Moffat, while Chris Bannon, taking over the gloves for the day from Sean McCafferty, excelled.
All of Aycliffe’s possession came to nought and the sizeable Robins following celebrated on 27 minutes.
Superb play from James Luccock saw him progress up the right flank with a jinking and dazzling run and his precise cross was duly buried with aplomb by Glen-Ravenhill.
Shields did not create too much but were gritty, gutsy and determined in every challenge, and more delightful Luccock skills forced Aycliffe keeper James Wintet into a desperate save as the second period unwound.
Less was seen of the County Durham side as an attacking force as the game progressed, and as conditions worsened, Shields’ resolve increased.
The clock ticked over, the rain fell, the Robins became more buoyant, and when they had successfully negotiated the initial three minutes of stoppage time indicated it seemed all over. But it was not quite done and dusted.
Aycliffe were handed a further astonishing five minutes to try to salvage something.
They went close, though Glen-Ravenhill was denied what appeared a clear penalty as he raced goalwards to double his tally.
The man in the middle eventually blew and the Shieldsmen were finally able to travel homewards in good spirits.
North Shields assistant manager Andy Bowman said: “We looked rusty in the first half against Runcorn and never really got out of the blocks.
“We started to perform after the turnaround, showing much more desire, which was always going to be needed.
“Runcorn are obviously a good side but we warmed up nicely with such a committed display at Newton Aycliffe which brought us three great points.
“We’ve a Boxing Day morning encounter nearby at Newcastle Benfield (11am) and then host Bedlington Terriers on Saturday, January 2, kick-off 3pm, before we take on Runcorn again, whenever that will be, but we’ll be prepared.”
North Shields: Bannon, Brooking, Lancaster, Summerly (McKeown), Park (Hughes), Coppen, Luccock, Richardson (Ormston), Bainbridge, Glen-Ravenhill, Gadsby. Subs not used: Walker, Carr.