North Shields hot-shot Gareth Bainbridge bagged a staggering 55 goals in his sides championship campaign.
He hit a nap hand and seven hat-tricks but never a four-goal haul.
Until Saturday that is, when his four strikes steered the Shieldsmen into the next round of the FA Vase.
The Robins have taken the Northern League first division by storm – early leaders and now occupying a top four spot, but this was a chance to take a break from league pressure.
The Shields treatment table was still overflowing with the likes of Adam Forster Curtis Coppen John Grey Ryan Carr and James Luccock all sidelined.
Even king-pin defender John Parker was only able to make the bench, but Robbie Livermore made the starting XI and Ben Richardson returned after suspension.
Three players – David Colvin, Rob Taylor and Peter Glen-Ravenhill – all came on as late substitutes to make their Shields debuts.
Graham Fenton’s lads started smoothly enough, overpowering their hosts, but just could not apply the finishing touch to a succession of flowing moves.
Last season’s encounter between the sides had provided bumper entertainment – a 3-3 cracker with only two stoppage times goals securing a point for the Tynesiders.
This time it looked so comfortable with Denver Morris roasting the home defenders with Jack Donnison ably supporting down the right flank.
Corner after corner came and went until Morris took advantage of a slip,advancing on goal to set up Bainbridge in the 16th minute.
Livermore was working like a Trojan in the middle of the park, but the second goal did not arrive until the 39 minute mark, this time Joe Elliott the provider for Bainbridge to provide the finish.
Before the break Dean Holmes switched wings before setting off on a scintillating run, ending with a delicate curler that agonisingly whistled just past the post.
The second period started tentatively, Shields seemingly content with their pickings and Stokesley unable to raise their game to cause an upset.
Or so it seemed with Bainbridge receiving from Holmes to complete his hat-trick then Holmes denied a blatant spot kick.
That non-decision coupled with a free kick awarded to the hosts immediately at the other end, sweetly converted by Dave Edwards despite Chris Bannon getting a hand to the effort changed the game’s complex.
The Robins were caught out by another teasing cross and Edwards made it 3-2, and the gallant North Yorkshire outfit were right back in it.
Shields had lost their way but showed some grit to come through the sticky period and a fourth from Bainbridge, evading a defender and coolly rounding the well-advanced keeper right on the whistle, brought back the cheers.
North Shields have been drawn at home to AFC Emley, who play in the Northern Counties East League division one in the next round, to be played on Saturday, November 1.
The sides have only met previously in season 1977-78 in an FA Trophy tie when a 1-1 scoreline on Tyneside, Alan Chatman on target, resulted in a Tuesday afternoon replay at Emley, near Huddersfield, which the Yorkshiremen won 3-1, with Ray Scott scoring for the Robins.
North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Turner (Colvin), Richardson, Elliott, Hughes, Morris (Taylor), Livermore (Glen-Ravenhill), Bainbridge, Wrightson, Holmes. Subs not used: Parker, Hook.
North Shields host West Allotment Celtic on Saturday (3pm) and Sunderland RCA on Wednesday, October 15, 7.30pm.