Whitley Bay won their FA Cup replay at Sunderland Ryhope CW in dramatic fashion on Tuesday evening.
They came from behind to snatch victory thanks to two goals in the final ten minutes, with the winner coming deep into stoppage time.
On a cold and wet evening more typical of November than August, both sides were under strength, with Whitley missing four players through injury while Ryhope had several unavailable.
The visitors started the stronger and after 11 minutes Adam Shanks brought a fine save from Chris Rookes, the Ryhope keeper palming away his fierce shot.
Almost immediately a dangerous looking cross from Alex Kempster flew across goal and beyond the far post.
Four minutes later Josh Day’s cross from the right was headed over the bar by Kempster.
However, against the run of play and with their first shot on target, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock with 22 minutes on the clock.
Craig Hughes played a free kick into the Bay penalty area where Richard Flynn was deemed to have tugged down an opponent as both players went for the ball.
Referee Barry Gordon awarded a penalty which Nathan O’Neill converted, although Andy Jennison went the right way and got a hand on the ball.
Whitley fought back with both Hughes and Shanks having chances to level.
And the equaliser was not long in coming, and it was the game’s second penalty.
Kempster was bundled to the ground as he cut in from the left and Shanks confidently beat Rookes from the spot for his first goal in Bay colours.
O’Neill then fired just over with a 20-yard effort before Shanks headed wide from Kempster’s cross.
But Whitley’s lead lasted just seven minutes and a lack of concentration from a long throw-in proved costly as Conor Winter was allowed time and space inside the box to fire a powerful shot into the roof of the net.
Five minutes later Jennison kept Whitley in the game with a great save to deny Jack Pounder, and at the other end Chris McDonald’s cross was headed past the post by Michael Laws.
Both sides made changes shortly after the interval and Jennison made an outstanding save to keep out a shot from Ryhope substitute Josh Home-Jackson on the hour mark.
Whitley were enjoying a large amount of possession but were unable to convert chances into goals and this was typified when a low cross from Hughes flashed across the Ryhope goal with both Kempster and substitute Stephen Young just inches away from applying the finishing touch.
Ryhope had a glorious opportunity to seal victory with 14 minutes remaining when Winter was played through on goal but once again Jennison came to the rescue.
When Whitley had a goal disallowed, it began to look as if they were on the way out of the competition.
A header from Shanks crashed off the bar and back into play before Michael Laws poked the ball home, but the goal was ruled out by a raised flag from the assistant.
Seven minutes from time the persistence of Shanks finally paid off when he got his second goal of the game with a great shot from the left edge of the box, which took a slight deflection on its way into the far corner of the net beyond the reach of Rookes.
Back on terms and with the home side clearly tiring, Whitley sensed victory.
A long kick downfield by Jennison was seized on by Shanks who advanced before lobbing the ball over Rookes as the Ryhope keeper raced off his line.
Whitley fans were about to celebrate what looked a certain goal when defender James Cook acrobatically hooked the ball off the line and away from goal.
Extra time was looming but two minutes into the four added on for stoppages, Mark Bertram spotted his chance and sent a low 20-yard shot skimming across the wet grass through a gap in the home defence and into the bottom corner to spark scenes of joy among the large contingent of travelling fans.
The final whistle was not long delayed and Whitley were through to the next round where they will host Heaton Stannington in a local derby a week on Saturday.
Manager Paddy Atkinson was delighted with the character shown by his depleted squad who for the third time in as many games were rewarded for never giving up and battling through to the final whistle.
Whitley Bay: Jennison, Day, McDonald, Gibson, Laws, Flynn, Redhead (Young 54), Bertram, Shanks, Hughes, Kempster.