North Shields may not make it to Wembley in the FA Cup, but they certainly enjoyed making progress on a sunny afternoon at the East Riding seaside.
The Robins were not at their most fluent but were resolute and two second half goals booked a home tie against Kendal Town of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League division one north in the next round.
Shields travelled to Bridlington Town shorn of the unavailable James Luccock, the man of the match against Seaham Red Star three days earlier.
That game ended 2-2 though Graham Fenton’s team dominated in their first outing of the season at the Daren Persson Stadium.
The Robins were awesome on the night without getting the rub of the green and rued missed chances, though Seaham keeper Shaun Newbrook always proves a difficult custodian to find a way past.
Sonny Andrews over-celebrated a spot kick against the run of play, though, as that Seaham advantage barely lasted a sortie to the other end when the Tynesiders were awarded a penalty of their own and Gareth Bainbridge stepped up to convert his first of the campaign.
Luccock was irrepressible and deservedly put the Robins ahead with a cool finish before the break.
But the visitors rode their luck and when a free kick was not fully cleared as the second period unwound, Paul Gardiner was able to drill in a leveller.
From then on it was virtually one-way traffic, but valiant and desperate defending earned the division newcomers a point.
On Saturday at Bridlington, Shields were without Ryan Carr whilst Gary Day was also ruled out.
Shields had played at the Queensgate ground just last season in the FA Cup against the ground-sharing Scarborough Athletic, drawing 1-1 and then 4-4 in the replay only to bow out through a penalty shoot-out.
Coincidently the referee in that game – Chris Ellis, who contributed by producing four red cards awarding five penalties in open play – was in charge again this time.
Wilf Keilty, back to his Robins roots, recalled the time he wore the Shields number two shirt three times against Bridlington in the FA Cup in 1988. The first match at Appleby Park ending 1-1 with Keith Mills netting for the Robins and in the replay Martin Henderson’s goal earning another chance only for the Shieldsmen to lose the toss for choice of venue and in another midweek journey a Barrie Wardrobe strike was not quite enough as Town edged it 2-1.
This time Shields started brightly but could not get the encouragement of an early goal, despite seeing a Bainbridge effort frantically cleared off the line.
Adam Forster was prominent down the left despite the unfamiliar role, then Ben Richardson unleashed Bainbridge but his shot cleared the bar.
On 25 minutes the Yorkshire side threatened for the first time and centre forward Lewis Clarkson escaped his marker to round Chris Bannon but Jack Donnison superbly rescued his side with a clearance off the line.
Shields lost the influential Denver Morris on 31 minutes, stretched off, and were forced to reshuffle the pack with Gary Ormston coming on to make his debut.
Straight from the second half resumption Joel Sutton rattled the Shields bar, but it was the Robins who made the crucial breakthrough with 63 minutes on the clock when a corner was played back out to Forster and a quality cross was jubilantly headed in at the far post by centre half and last season’s player of the year John Parker.
Referee Ellis then decided to take centre stage by dismissing both Bridlington skipper Tom Fleming and Shields’ Curtis Coppen in an off the ball incident.
Shields, shorn of front men to partner Bainbridge, pushed full back Jack Walker, on as substitute, forward, but the visitors were relieved when Ombeni Ruhanduka struck the post on 82 minutes.
It was the Robins’ turn to rue bad fortune moments later as Michael McKeown released Bainbridge only for the hot shot to be thwarted by the upright.
As the watch ticked over to the 90-minute mark, the Shields followers were in raptures, their success assured as Bainbridge set up Walker who rifled a beauty past a helpless keeper.
North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Grey, McKeown, Parker, Hughes, Morris (Ormston 31), Coppen, Bainbridge, Richardson (Walker 64), Forster. Subs not sued: Coulson, Summerly, Smith.
Shields are at Penrith on Wednesday night then start a succession of home matches – Washington, Saturday, August 22; Newton Aycliffe, Wednesday, August 26; Kendal Town, Saturday, August 29; and Newcastle Benfield, Monday, August 31.
Highlights from Saturday’s FA Cup tie are on the North Shields FC YouTube channel.