Barnoldswick Town dug in and made life difficult for 2018 FA Vase runners-up Stockton Town on Saturday, before eventually succumbing 2-0.
Two late goals finally saw off a resolte Town, officially under Endrit Shehu’s command for the first time after taking the reins full time.
In a good, old fashioned hard fought cup tie, Barnoldswick were organised and disciplined and set out to deny the Anchors space to play in, but in doing that probably didn’t give themselves enough of an opportunity to grab a goal.
In the opening stages, neither attack was making any impression.
Jordan Robinson livened things up, firstly with a bruising tackle on Joe Noblet, for which he received a yellow card, leading to a bit of a skirmish involving several players. Then he challenged for a corner ball and Ryan Livesey just got a fist on it to prevent a certain goal.
Barnoldswick were keeping the dangerous Kev Hayes very quiet, with his best contribution coming on 30 minutes when he skipped inside, but his shot was straight at Livesey.
The visitors started to gain in confidence and had probably the best chance of the half when a cross from Ethan Kershaw was only partially cleared to Noblet just inside the box, and his well-struck effort was kept out by Jordan Robinson’s tremendous sliding block.
The second half saw the Anchors come out a little slicker, and as the half progressed, they started to control things more.
Barnoldswick’s Chris Turner tried his luck from 30 yards, the ball clipping the top of the bar.
The Anchors finally broke the deadlock on 76 minutes as, after a patient build up, Jamie Owens crashed a left foot shot at goal, Livesey making a super save but Fred Woodhouse turned in the rebound.
And three minutes later, Lewis Kings chipped the ball into the box for Owens, who controlled and finished.
Town are at Burscough tomorrow, before their West Riding County Cup tie at home to Steeton on Tuesday.