YORK City had not tasted defeat for 80 days prior to last night's Setanta Shield penalty shoot-out exit.

And, while the Minstermen might not have been around the world in that time, they had managed to preserve Colin Walker's proud unbeaten record at such remote footballing outposts as Weymouth, Ebbsfleet and Grays Athletic, which is why the nature of his first defeat in 15 matches as manager is so galling.

Few fans could have imagined the run, stretching back to his temporary appointment on November 18, would come to an end so meekly at home against a Northwich team third-from-bottom in the Blue Square Premier, eight points from safety and with just three league wins to their name all season.

But it did, following 120 minutes of haphazard play and a spot-kick horror show.

Martyn Woolford rattled the crossbar from 12 yards to seal City's fate after Craig Farrell and Richard Brodie had earlier failed to convert, sending Northwich through 3-2 on penalties.

Brodie's effort was particularly woeful, almost landing in Grosvenor Road, which is a shame because he was one of the few City players to come out of this game with any credit.

The striker bagged a brace to take his tally for the season to eight, either side of a Martyn Woolford effort that left Vics 'keeper Lewis Edge red-faced.

His City counterpart Tom Evans looked just as embarrassed, however, after his frailties were exposed for Northwich's first two goals.

During a goalless first-half, City hit the woodwork twice with Farrell rattling an upright from a direct free kick and Anthony Lloyd heading against the underside of the bar after good work down the right by Brodie.

In between, a back- peddling Evans tipped Aaron Burns' volley over his crossbar. But Evans' first mistake handed Northwich the lead after 48 minutes.

Initially, the former Scunthorpe stopper appeared to claw Cayne Hanley's looping header from Burns' cross out of the air but he only succeeded in juggling the ball over his own goal-line.

City looked to have made a swift recovery when, seven minutes later, substitute Nicky Wroe crossed from the right and Woolford stabbed the ball into the path of Brodie, who stayed composed to equalise by sidefooting past Edge.

A Northern Area semi-final place then beckoned when Wroe teed up Woolford for a tame 25-yard strike that somehow squirmed past Edge.

Evans, though, contrived to drop a Josh Wilson corner under pressure from Hanley, who swivelled to shoot into an inviting net from three yards out.

City's top scorer Farrell should have still won the tie in normal time, but headed weakly at Edge with the goal at his mercy following a super cross to the far post by Brodie.

Instead, the visitors forged ahead for a second time in the second minute of extra-time when Joel Byrom's corner fell to the feet of substitute Keith Barker at the far post and he drove in despite Stuart Elliott's attempts to clear off the line.

City levelled again with a similarly scrappy effort on 101 minutes when Edge and sub Brad Maylett could not prevent Brodie bundling the ball across the line from five yards after good work from Woolford.

Hanley hobbled off seconds later, leaving Northwich down to ten men having used their full quota of substitutes but City could not make their numerical advantage count.

Farrell went closest, hitting the foot of the post after good work down the left by teenage winger Liam Shepherd, who was introduced for his first taste of senior action.

As City's regular penalty taker, Farrell then stepped up first in the shoot-out only to hit the post for a third time on the night and endure his first miss from the spot for the club.

Burns found Evans' bottom right-hand corner next and Wroe confidently converted into Edge's top left-hand corner.

The scores were levelled when Evans dived left to keep out Michael Carr's attempt, but Brodie then ballooned over and Wilson restored the visitors' advantage.

Elliott kept his nerve to beat Edge low to his right, but Ryan Brown piled the pressure on Woolford by crashing his attempt into the roof of the net.

The former Frickley player drove against the bar and City were out, much to the delight of the bare-chested Northwich fans behind the goal.

Match facts

York City 3 (Brodie 55, 101 Woolford 64), Northwich Victoria 3 (Hanley 48, 75 Parker 92)

(after extra-time, Northwich win 3-2 on pens)

York City: Tom Evans 4, Darren Craddock 5, David McGurk 6, Danny Parslow 6, Ben Purkiss 6, Anthony Lloyd 7, Russell Fry 5, Phil Turnbull 6, Martyn Woolford 6, Richard Brodie 7, Craig Farrell 5.

Substitutions: Nicky Wroe (for Fry, 52) 7, Stuart Elliott (for Turnbull, 52) 6, Liam Shepherd (for Craddock, 98) 6.

Subs not used: Mimms, Beadle.

Key: 10 - Faultless; 9 - Outstanding; 8 - Excellent; 7 - Good; 6 - Average; 5 - Below par; 4 - Poor; 3 - Dud; 2 - Hopeless; 1 - Retire

City's star man: Brodie - woeful penalty but City needed more of his honest endeavour from others.

Northwich: Lewis Edge, Danny Meadowcroft (Brad Maylett, 76), Michael Welch, Cortez Belle, Ryan Brown, Cayne Hanley, Matt Crowell (Michael Carr, 58), Josh Wilson, Joel Byrom, Lee Steele (Keith Barker, 46), Aaron Burns.

Subs not used: Nat Kerr, Luke Horrocks.

Yellow cards: Belle 17, Hanley 45, Burns 90.

Shots on target: York 12 Northwich 9

Shots off target: York 11 Northwich 5

Corners: York 12 Northwich 4

Fouls conceded: York 11 Northwich 17

Offsides: York 4 Northwich 3.

Referee: Richard West (Beverley).

Rating: his performance cannot have caused many complaints from either manager.

Attendance: 763 (23 away fans).

Shot of the match: Farrell's free-kick that rattled Northwich's post.

Mistake of the match: Evans dropping Wilson's corner to gift Hanley the opportunity to take the tie into extra-time.

Tackle of the match: A crunching midfield challenge by Elliott.

City player watch: Midfielder Phil Turnbull

Goal attempts on target: 0

Goal attempts off target: 1

Blocked goal attempts: 0

Passes to own player: 29

Passes to opposition: 2

Crosses to own player: 0

Crosses to opposition: 0

Pass success rate: 93.5 per cent

Dribbles ball retained: 3

Dribbles ball lost: 0

Dribble success rate: 100 per cent

Headers: 6

Tackles: 4

Clearances, blocks and interceptions: 1

Free-kicks won: 2

Free-kicks conceded: 1

Offsides: 0

Bookings: 0

Final summary: Turnbull's full debut only lasted 52 minutes before he was replaced along with fellow central-midfielder Fry. The former Hartlepool midfielder looked very comfortable in possession, only losing the ball twice although few of his passes proved incisive. His one shot was deflected wide just three minutes before his withdrawal.