Brave Shildon’s FA Cup dream dies

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SHILDON, the Ebac Northern League’s last remaining hope, exited the FA Cup in last night’s fourth qualifying round replay against Stoke side Norton United.

Lee Cropper and Kyle Diskin fired the visitors into a two-goal lead and although Paul Connor beat the offside trap on 73 minutes to half the deficit, Shildon were unable to produce an equaliser.

Darren Craddock was just wide with one effort for Gary Forrest’s Railwaymen early on, then had a header blocked on the line, but Norton rallied with Diskin shooting just over the bar.

The EvoStik League visitors, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home on Saturday, went in front seven minutes before the break, Cropper capitalising on a slop by defender Carl Jones, who tried to deal with a cross from the right, to turn and shoot past Kyle Hayes.

Lee Scroggins had an effort ruled out for offside before half-time, then Norton went close on the restart, Craddock being rescued from an own goal by the quick reaction of Hayes, who then made a super stop to deny Cropper.

Diskin doubled Norton’s lead in the 55th minute, firing into the top corner after the ball fell kindly for him after Craddock blocked a pass intended for Cropper.

Craddock headed a corner over the bar as Shildon gave everything in a bid to get back into the tie, and they pulled one back on 73 minutes when former Middlesbrough striker Paul Connor drove home after a fine pass from Scroggins.

Sub Chris Emms twice went close late on, while Hudson fired over the top from 14 yards.

The game attracted a bumper crowd of 936 to Dean Street.

Norton will now host Conference high-fliers Gateshead in the first round proper.