League leaders North Shields took a break from clocking up Northern League points with the distraction of a League Cup tie against old adversaries Tow Law, now in the second division.
For many years the Lawyers have held the ‘Indian sign’ over the Shieldsmen, and Wednesday night’s game was never going to be an easy passage for the hosts.
Fresh from their FA Vase progress days earlier, Robins boss Jon McDonald took the opportunity to rotate his squad with only talisman striker Gareth Bainbridge unavailable as the Tynesiders set out on the League Cup campaign, a competition in which they reached the semi-final last season before bowing out in a penalty shoot-out to Shildon.
The Robins made a dream start as Dan Wilson buried a shot past the visiting keeper Michael Allan with a mere three minutes on the watch.
Shields were strolling it at this point with Jordan Summerly prominent in raids from the back and Allan only just thwarted by the full back, then Ryan Carr was unlucky to clip the post.
Shields keeper Kyle Hayes had to make a smart save from Kieran Barker as the visitors sensed they were still in the tie as the first half unwound, but it looked as if the Robins had done enough to preserve their advantage until Kelvin Thear pounced to drive in the equaliser with the last kick before the whistle blew.
The Lawyers were buoyed and emerged with fresh determination on the resumption, but their hopes were dashed not long after.
Dean Holmes had wonderfully worked his way to the byline only to see his touch on scrambled clear, but Summerley then produced a sublime cross that Carr rose to plant home a great header.
Thear was close to a second leveller but dragged his effort just wide, but the plucky South Durham outfit were deflated when bustling front man Wilson rounded off a rousing display with a cool finish.
Top scorer Lee Mason came off the bench to make it 4-1 in the closing seconds with a blistering 25 yarder that all but burst the net.
North Shields: Hayes, Donnison, Summerly, Forster (McKeown 74), Parker, Brooking, Taylor (Morris 69), Ormston, Wilson, Carr, Holmes (Mason 69). Subs not used: Hughes, Coppen.
On Saturday North Shields return to league action with a trip to Newton Aycliffe. This is followed by a Northumberland Senior Cup quarter-final at home to Heaton Stannington on Wednesday, November 23.