Scarborough Athletic were knocked out of the FA Trophy with a 5-2 humbling at the hands of South Shields.
It was always going to be a tough test against the current league leaders and a side that had knocked Darlington and York City out of the FA Cup, but Boro were guilty of fatal errors that aided the task of the visitors.
After the dramatic FA Cup win in midweek, Matty Turnbull returned to the heart of the Boro defence, with Leon Osborne brought in up front following the departure of Emile Sinclair.
In front of a healthy crowd of 1,338, the visitors got off to a quick side with Carl Finnigan firing wide of the target when well placed.
The danger signs were there for Boro once again as Matty Pattison pounced on a loose back pass only to be denied by the outstretched foot of goalkeeper Tommy Taylor to divert it away.
It was no surprise when South Shields grabbed the opener on 15 minutes when Gavin Cogden was allowed to weave in from the left, twisting and turning away from the Boro defenders to fire powerfully past Taylor at his near post and silence the home support.
The game was turning into a tasty trophy tie, with Carl Finnigan lucky to escape with just a word from the referee after challenging for a ball in the air with Daly and leaving the midfielder on the deck.
With the home crowd behind them Boro rallied and hit back through the in-form Michael Coulson on 25 minutes.
The striker took responsibility for a free-kick 30 yards out, whipping it with his right boot over the wall via a deflection to nestle in the back of the net.
The scores were not level for long though as Finnigan beat Taylor to a Craig Baxter cross into the near post and bundled in on the floor at the second attempt to restore the lead for the Mariners.
This started a mad ten minutes when Steve Kittrick’s side were ripped apart at the back by two further goals. Matty Pattison had time and space 20 yards out to pick his spot with a curled finish past a static home defence.
Shields continued to turn the screw and it was soon 4-1 as Cogden turned provider, collecting a long ball down the left channel to wriggle free and square for strike partner Finnigan to stroke home from six yards for the fourth goal.
It was a brutal display of attacking football that left the home side shell shocked and with a mountain to climb to salvage anything.
Most of the home support were praying to get through to the break just 4-1 down, but Boro had other ideas and trimmed the deficit on the stroke of half-time.
Luke Dean collected the ball on the edge of the area from Leon Osborne to drill an effort through a crowd of players that skimmed across the 3G surface and into the bottom corner to make it 4-2 at half-time to provide a glimmer of hope to the Boro fans congregating in the clubhouse at half-time.
After six goals in the opening 45 minutes, there was always going to be lull in proceedings. The early stages of the second half saw Shields happy to keep Boro at arm’s length and sit on their lead.
The game soon sparked back into life though and things nearly got worse for Boro as Cogden wriggled free of Turnbull and raced clean through on goal.
With just the goalkeeper to beat the 34-year-old striker lost his composure and pulled his effort wide of the target. It was to be Turnbull’s last act as the off-colour defender was run ragged and replaced by Jack Johnson.
Soon afterwards Cogden missed another opportunity to seal the win, missing the target when trying to finish a Craig Baxter pull back from close range.
As the game entered the final quarter, Boro began to edge back into it and ask a few questions of the Shields backline, with Max Wright climbing above his marker at the back post to nod a header that flicked the bar on the way over.
The home side then enjoyed a good spell of possession that ended when Wright delivered a pinpoint cross to replacement Nathan Curtis that he nodded wide.
Luke Dean came close to his second of the game late on, bringing a bouncing ball under control to slam in a shot from 25 yards that hit the crossbar and bounced down and away.
With Boro looking to finish the game strongly, Shields reminded Steve Kittrick’s side on their abilities in front of goal with a swift counter attack to put the tie to bed.
Sub Andrew Stephenson capitalised on a misplaced pass to go clean through, skidding a low shot across goal and under the dive of Taylor to complete the scoring and move the Mariners through to the next round in comfortable fashion.