Extra time agony for the Shieldsmen in FA Vase tie

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CUP exits surely don’t come much crueller than this.

The Shieldsmen were imploring the referee to blow the final whistle but, deep into stoppage time, the Robins’ wings were clipped.

Graham Fenton’s lads were holding on, only just, and looked set for a testing next round at fellow Northern League side Shildon, courtesy of Adam Rowntree’s 73rd minute strike.

Determined defending coupled with a gutsy and workmanlike display were undone as the ball broke kindly and home left back James Rathell arrowed in an absolute belter to force 30 additional minutes.

Shields were shattered, looking visibly drained as the extra period unwound and battered and bruised, down to ten men for a chunk of the time, having used all three substitutes and with Adam Forster sidelined receiving treatment.

Somehow they retained parity but as the hosts now came to life, the Robins were initially grateful for some profligacy in front of goal.

Brave blocks on the line by Jonathan Hall and skipper Danny Patterson helped the cause whilst substitute Jack Rogerson twice wildly blazed over and Gibril Bojang struck the bar.

Shields withstood the storm, and looked on course for a deserved replay, but they succumbed with 116 minutes on the clock as Kieran Corley’s drive gave Michael Robinson no chance.

The Robins had journeyed to Sir Geoffrey Boycott country on an afternoon more suited to cricket whites and their travelling band of supporters once more included Steve and Ben Harmison, brothers of Shields centre-half James.

The Tynesiders had won on their only two previous visits to Northern Counties East Premier side Liversedge, both back in 1991, but this time were without the versatile Femi Akinbolu and lively front-runner Dean Holmes alongside midfield dynamo Paul Watson.

But the Shieldsmen struggled to carve out many genuine opportunities.

They were hampered as Phil Robinson and Michael Watson, only on the field as a replacement, both hobbled off as erocious tackling went unpunished.

Joe Elliott and James Harmison were towers of strength at the back whilst Richardson’s effort that scraped the post was the closest the visitors came to a goal until Rowntree chipped the ball past keeper Paul Hargreen following a Patterson free kick.

Shields boss Graham Fenton reflected: “We’re gutted to lose in the those circumstances,” he said. “However our number one priority is to gain promotion, we’re not a million miles away.

“We’ve got quite a few new lads who need more time to get used to each other.”

Assistant manager Andy Bowman added: “Out first half play was fine and to be fair we got our goal against the general run of the game.

“We then stopped doing the simple things and didn’t clear our lines.

“After their leveller we were like the walking wounded and finished with only seven fit players.”

Next up for the Robins is a home match with Northallerton Town on Saturday, 3pm.

After that it is visits to Washington on September 12 (7.30pm) and Red Star on Saturday, September 15 (3pm).