South Shields battled into the semi-finals of the Durham Challenge Cup after a superb performance saw them beat Gateshead 3-2 at Mariners Park last night.
The Mariners twice took the lead in the first half, but Gateshead twice fought back on level terms before Lewis Teasdale scored a second-half winner.
Gateshead included the likes of South Shields-born Jamie Chandler in their team as they named a strong starting line-up in front of a crowd of 646.
The fitness of the professional outfit showed during the match, but Shields’ determination shone through as they forced their way past their National League opponents.
After a tight start, Jimmy Phillips rattled the crossbar for the visitors with a stunning drive from the edge of the box. The ball bounced down and, fortunately for Shields, did not cross the line.
Shields got stronger from that point, and almost took the lead when David Foley’s in-swinging corner was clawed away by visiting goalkeeper Brendan Pearson.
That only delayed the opening goal, though, which arrived from the following corner when a Wayne Phillips corner was bundled into his own net by Matty McCarthy, under pressure from Daryll Hall.
Phillips also headed an effort not far wide, but Gateshead continued to look dangerous and good on the ball.
Joe Hailes went close to an equaliser when he dribbled inside from the left before having an effort deflected just past the post.
Soon after, though, the Heed were level when a left-wing cross was deftly volleyed in by Michack Kanda.
Almost immediately, Shields re-took the lead when the fantastic Foley scored a goal of real quality.
After picking the ball up on the right flank, he drove inside with the ball, beating several men before firing into the top corner.
It was a deserved goal for Foley, who was a constant thorn in the visitors’ side.
At the other end, Leepaul Scroggins did well to block an effort by Jack Elliott, but Whickham equalised for a second time on 38 minutes when Craig Baxter’s cross was nodded in by Kanda.
Both sides went close to going in front before half-time, with Michael Turner having an effort cleared off the line before a Phillips free-kick at the other end was spilled by Gareth Young to McCarthy, who somehow missed the ball in front of goal.
In the second half, Shields were tighter at the back, and they had a number of decent opportunities before taking the lead for a third time on 65 minutes.
Foley and Robert Briggs linked up well on the right, and a cross from the latter took two deflections before being forced in by Teasdale at the back post.
With Ibby Hassan and Hall dominant at the back, the longer the game went on, the Mariners rarely looked like being breached again.
McCarthy had a shot blocked in stoppage time, but that was as close to forcing extra-time as Gateshead got as Shields claimed a superb victory.
They will hope to follow it up on Saturday when they host Whickham in the league.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Young, Smith, Turner (Grey 73), Hall, Hassan, Briggs, Foley, Scroggins (c), Ramsey (Sakr 82), Teasdale, Phillips. Subs not used: Pocklington, Byrne, Riding.
Goals: McCarthy (own goal) 22, Foley (31), Teasdale (65). Attendance: 646.