North Shields 3-2 Whitley Bay
Ryan Carr’s extra-time winner handed North Shields a dramatic El Coastico win to progress into the quarter-finals of the Northumberland Senior Cup on Tuesday.
Whitley Bay were five seconds away from booking their place in the next round but substitute Dan Wilson dramatically popped up with the equaliser in the last kick of normal time.
The visitors led 2-1 as Alex Kempster and a Joe Robson own goal in the first-half looked to be enough for victory.
Ben Harmison opened the scoring from the penalty spot, and only the brilliance of Bay keeper Dan Lister prevented Shields from increasing their advantage.
But in the end - despite riding their luck at times - the Robins showed character, grit, and determination to confirm their name in the hat for the next round.
Brian Smith made two changes from the side that lost 2-1 at Newcastle Benfield on Saturday with Lee Mason and Paul Robinson coming in for Richard Pell and Gareth Bainbridge.
The tempo of the game was set in the opening stages with a relentless start from both teams.
Lister made his first of many saves - diving low to meet Carr’s shot from outside the box.
Before opening the scoring, Harmison had a big opportunity to grant Shields the initiative within the first 10 minutes.
Dean Holmes’ good work on the left-hand side allowed him to pick out the unmarked Harmison, but he disappointingly failed to hit the target.
And with the Robins continuing their search for the first goal, referee David Pill deemed that a Bay player had handled Lee Mason’s shot from inside the area.
Harmison then stepped up to Lister the wrong way to score his first Shields goal and give his side the advantage on 13 minutes.
Only the arrogance and heroics of the Whitley keeper prevented the hosts from extending their advantage with two world-class saves.
Lister denied Harmison for a third time when he somehow managed to keep out the forward’s shot from point-blank range.
And Lister’s second, a few minutes later, was just as astonishing when he made himself big to get a strong hand to Holmes’ strike, who had the goal gaping.
Lister single handily kept his team in the game, and his teammates quickly made his noticeable actions count.
Josh Nearney delivered from the right-hand as Kempster was the quickest to react to poke the ball home.
Bay completed the turnaround five minutes later, though that was before another Lister save when he tipped over Robinson’s deflected effort.
Shields gifted the visitors the lead when a basic long punt forward caused confusion between Sean McCafferty and Robson with the defender slicing his clearance into an empty net.
In the second-half, Whitley’s pace on the attack stretched the Robins to the point where they should have put the game out of reach.
McCafferty joined Lister in the category of stunning saves when he kept out a Matty Cornish effort that was destined for the top corner.
The visitors also had a strong penalty appeal turned down when Tom Potter when to ground.
Shields finally began to threaten an equaliser in the final 10 minutes, which is why Bay were left kicking themselves when Scott Jasper missed a golden chance to make it 3-1.
A counter-attack carried by the pacey Cornish allowed him to pick out the unmarked Jasper, but the substitute somehow failed to at least hit the target.
The home side rallied on, even when it looked to not be their day. A goalmouth scrabble was somehow cleared before ending in Harmison hitting the crossbar.
However, Shields mounted one final attack and found their lucky break.
More havoc was caused in the Whitley box but on this occasion, it fortunately dropped into the free path of Wilson, who sensationally sent the game into extra-time.
The Robins maintained their momentum as substitute James Luccock squandered a gaping opportunity at the back post to make it 3-2.
But Shields weren’t to dwell on it as less than a minute later – found their winner.
Neat build-up play from the hosts allowed them to set up Carr on the edge of the box, who produced a drilled finish out of reach for Lister.
Carr’s eventual match-winning strike proved too much for Bay as the closest any side came to scoring was when Wilson dragged his shot inches past the far post in the dying seconds.