By Amos Wynne
A penalty shootout defeat saw Southport FC exit the Emirates FA Cup at the hands of South Shields.
The match went to spot kicks, following a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.
The Port had taken the lead in strange circumstances, as the ball appeared to take a number of deflections on its way over the line, when no real danger looked apparent.
With less than 20 minutes remaining, The Mariners equalised, with Darius Osei waiting at the back post to poach a goal.
Missed in the shootout from Russell Benjamin and Charlie Oliver were costly for the Port, as the North East side made no mistake and progress to the fourth qualifying round.
The first chance of the game fell to Connor Woods, with Jack Sampson heading the ball down for the attacker to strike from the edge of box, forcing the keeper to a save down to his left side.
After nearly assisting one, the Port striker had an attempt of his own, but put a long-ranged effort wide of Myles Boney’s goal.
A few minutes later David Morgan tried his luck from the same distance, with his shot also off target.
The visitors first opportunity came just before the 15-minute mark, as former Port striker, Gilchrist, smashed the crossbar from just inside the box.
Meanwhile, down the other end, Boney was forced into two excellent saves to keep the scores level.
First, he palmed away a long Russell Benjamin shot from outside the box, before tipping over an effort from Morgan as the Sandgrounders turned up the pressure.
The first goal of the evening came in the 29th minute, came in peculiar circumstances, as a pass from Bainbridge on the by-line somehow found its way into the back of the net via a series of deflections.
Chances to double their lead followed for The Port, as a Matt Challoner cross was whizzed across the box with no one on the end of it, whilst George Newell had an attempt blocked over.
South Shields nearly got an equaliser a minute into the second half, as Tony McMillan needed to tip over a Blair Adams cross that was dipping under the cross the bar.
Opportunities were scare for both sides after the break, as no clear-cut threats arose up until the 74th minute, when The Mariners bounced back.
After Alex Kempster’s initial shot was blocked, the attacker fired the ball back towards goal, with Darius Osei waiting at the back post to tap in for 1-1.
Kempster was certainly looking lively, and tested McMillan from distance, with the keeper only able to parry the shot before diving onto the ball as Osei was racing in.
Southport also came close to edging themselves back in front, as a Mo Ali header hit the cross bar.
None the less, South Shields looked were having the better of the chances for the first time in the game, as they searched for a late winner.
The Port were also looking to create, and came close through Morgan, with the Sandgrounders skipper curling the ball wide of the right post.
Substitute, Marcus Carver, came close to finding the decisive goal as well, as he chased a loose ball by Craig Baxter, only for Boney to win the race and collect the ball.
With nothing between the two sides after 90 minutes, the game went to penalties.
Morgan stood up to take the first for the Port and smashed it straight down the middle.
Robert Briggs also successfully converted South Shield’s first, despite McMillan going the right way.
The first miss of the shoot-out came from Benjamin, as Boney guessed the right way and saved to his right.
After Gilchrist successfully dispatched his spot kick for the visitors, Charlie Oliver missed his penalty, to truly put the North East side in the driving seat.
Kempster strengthened that position further, as he fired his side 1-3 ahead.
Despite Marcus Carver successfully converting his to keep Southport in the game, Osei secured the victory for South Shields as he sent the keeper the wrong way to seal the game.
Southport FC: Tony McMillan, Matthew Challoner, Jack Bainbridge (74’), Charlie Oliver, Mo Ali, Jack Doyle, David Morgan, Russell Benjamin, Connor Woods (74’), Jack Sampson, George Newell (82’).
Substitutes: Dan Hanford, Adam Anson (74’), Marcus Carver (82’), Dylan Vassallo (74’), Niall Watson.
South Shields: Myles Boney, Craig Baxter, Blair Adams, Jon Shaw, Dillon Morse, Callum Ross, Phillip Turnball, Robert Briggs, Jason Gilchrist, Alex Kempster, Darius Osei.
Substitutes: Dominic Agnew, Ross Coombe, Jordan Hunter, Wouter Verstraaten, William Jenkins, William McCamley, Sam Hodgson.
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