Dylan Mottley-Henry headed South Shields into the first round of the Emirates FA Cup as the Mariners bridged a two-division gap to beat Scunthorpe United at 1st Cloud Arena.
Mottley-Henry nodded in after 13 minutes to set Shields on their way and although the visitors demonstrated their National League quality at times, they were unable to find a way past a resolute Shields team.
In fact, Kevin Phillips’ side could have won by more as they went close to adding to their lead on several occasions, but ultimately one goal was all they needed against the former EFL stalwarts.
The Mariners can now look forward to Monday evening’s draw for the first round, when clubs from League One and League Two enter the prestigious competition.
Shields started the tie in energetic fashion but it was the visitors who had the first attempt on goal, with Dan Gallimore’s well-hit strike from distance clutched by Myles Boney. The resulting corner was headed over by Andrew Boyce.
The hosts’ first effort came on 12 minutes as Mottley-Henry came inside from the left and fired an effort which was deflected over.
That led to two corners in succession for the Mariners and the second of them proved fruitful, with the ball hooked to the back post and Mottley-Henry on hand to delicately head in from close range.
Scunthorpe’s response came quickly, with Alfie Beestin stinging the palms of Boney with a powerful left-footed strike from distance.
At the other end, Shields took a quick free-kick and Mackenzie Heaney eyed goal number two, but his low shot from 20 yards was held by Marcus Dewhurst in the visitors’ goal.
It was developing into a pulsating cup tie and Scunthorpe were showing several flashes of quality, one of which led to an effort from Cameron Wilson which was held by Boney, who also saved from Joe Nuttall.
The game settled after that as Shields carried their one-goal lead into half-time, and they had an opportunity to double their advantage five minutes into the second half when Robert Briggs’ shot from the edge of the area was pushed wide by Dewhurst.
Another chance arrived moments later as Heaney played in Mottley-Henry, but this time Dewhurst closed the angle to make a smothering save.
Michael Woods dragged an effort wide from 25 yards as the Mariners maintained the pressure, with Scunthorpe restricted to attempts from long range as they looked to respond.
Shields went agonisingly close to going two in front just after the hour mark when, after a fine move, Blair Adams’ low right foot shot kissed the inside of the post before bouncing the wrong side of the line.
Conor Newton had an effort deflected wide and Gary Liddle headed over from a corner as the chances continued to come, but as the game entered the final 25 minutes Scunthorpe began to exert some pressure of their own.
Nuttall had a chance from a Reagan Ogle cross, but he was unable to get his header on target.
The Iron had a dominant period of possession but found clear-cut opportunities difficult to come by as Shields defended firmly.
That continued through some nerve-shredding final moments as the Mariners matched their achievement of two years ago to beat National League opposition and seal a place in round one.
South Shields: Boney, Newton, Broadbent, Liddle, Morse, Smith, Heaney, Woods, Mottley-Henry (Osei 84), Briggs (Ross 79), Adams (c). Subs not used: Doherty, McGowan, Hunter, Gomes.
Goal: Mottley-Henry (13).
Image: Kev Wilson.