The FA Amateur Cup was the highest ranked nationwide cup competition for amateur clubs and in the 1968–69 final North Shields beat Isthmian League club Sutton United in front of 47,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium. Shields were a goal down after only four minutes but won 2–1 with second half strikes from Richie Hall and Brian Joicey, both laid on by substitute Tommy Orrick a local shipyard worker.
North Shields continued in the Northern League until 1989, winning the league cup in 1971–72 and were league runners-up in 1983–84. “The Robins” achieved their best post-war FA Cup performance in 1982 progressing for the second time in their history to the second round proper. They won 1-0 at fourth division League club Halifax Town in the first round, Bede McCaffrey scoring the all important goal. It was Shields first (and only to date) FA Cup victory over a Football League club. Third division league club Walsall were the visitors to Appleby Park in the second round and left with a 3–0 victory.
During the late 1970s the whole structure of Non-League football was changing. North Shields had been an amateur club however in 1974 the Football Association had abolished the distinction between amateur and professional players. 1979 saw the creation of the Alliance Premier League at the head of a national pyramid structure with, from 1987, automatic promotion to the Football League. The Northern League remained outside of the pyramid structure and gradually lost its status to the Northern Premier League which was a direct feeder league to the Alliance. Indeed, the Northern Counties East League which was founded in 1982 to be part of the pyramid structure (and a feeder to the Northern Premier League)