This was an achievement to rival any of South Shields’ remarkable successes over the last two years.
Not only did they beat York City – a Football League club just two years ago, don’t forget – in the FA Cup, but they thoroughly deserved it.
And they did it after suffering the despair of letting a two-goal lead slip in three manic second half minutes.
They could have been forgiven for letting their heads drop at that stage.
Logic stated that York would be the stronger team in the closing stages as a full-time, professional outfit.
But where they may have slightly lacked in fitness after a monumental effort earlier in the game, Shields more than made up for in heart and desire.
Gavin Cogdon’s 91st minute winner was just reward for the Mariners’ outstanding display. It is a moment which will live long in the memory of all in the near-3,000 crowd who were lucky enough to witness it.
The roar which greeted it is surely the loudest to have ever been heard at Mariners Park.
It was ear-splitting and joyous in equal measure.
The supporters had brilliantly backed their team from the first whistle and will now eagerly await the draw for the fourth qualifying round. It’s the first time the club has made it this far since reforming in 1974.
It’s a place the Mariners earned with a stunning display.
After a first minute mishap which almost gifted the Minstermen the lead – Jon Shaw’s clearance was closed down, but goalkeeper Jack Norton brilliantly tackled York’s Amari Morgan-Smith – Shields were brilliant.
Their first opening came in the ninth minute after York goalkeeper Jon Worsnop was closed down by Jamie Holmes before fouling the Shields forward. Worsnop was booked and then beaten from the spot by Carl Finnigan.
York were struggling to make any real impact in the game and the longer the half went on, the more Shields impressed.
They scored a deserved second goal 10 minutes before half-time, and it was a picture-book one. Julio Arca collected the ball and played it into the feet of Robert Briggs, who waited for his captain to run into space in the box before delivering an inch-perfect pass into his path.
Arca made no mistake and slotted it into the bottom corner. It was an excellently worked goal, and Arca ensured that arguably one of the passes of the season got the finish it deserved.
Shields’ confidence was clear for all to see and they almost made it three when Cogdon drove inside from the left, and his low shot was kicked away from the bottom corner by Worsnop.
Cogdon had a better chance three minutes before the break when Worsnop punched a cross into his path, but his effort comfortably cleared the crossbar.
Cogdon was denied by Worsnop earlier in the second half, before York began to gain a foothold.
The away team knew that one goal could set nerves jangling, and they got it with 14 minutes remaining. A flick in the area fell the way of captain Sean Newton, who fired low and hard, and saw his shot squirm under Norton. It was a lifeline for York and one they took advantage of.
Less than two minutes later, they were level. A cross was swung in from the right and Jon Parkin used his power to disrupt Norton and bundle the ball home despite appeals for a foul.
Substitute Louis Almond almost broke Shields hearts as he curled an effort just wide, while a shot from Newton flashed across the area.
Shields summoned the energy to go on an attack, and their golden moment came from the resulting corner.
Arca swung it in and Briggs touched it across goal for Cogdon, who headed home from a yard out. Cue pandemonium.
Shields hung on for a stunning, dramatic, emotional and historic victory, arguably their most impressive of modern times.
What a day, what a moment, what a team.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Norton, Baxter, Callaghan (Lough 90+3), Shaw, Morse, Arca (c), Briggs, Smith (Stephenson 90+3), Cogdon, Finnigan, Holmes (Richardson 45). Subs not used: Connell, Storey, Pattison, Sullivan.
Goals: Finnigan (pen 9), Arca (35), Cogdon (90+1).