Glossop North End just 90 minutes from Wembley after 2-0 win at St Austell in FA Vase semi-final first leg

Glossop North End v St Austell, FA Vase Semi-final first leg.
Glossop North End v St Austell, FA Vase Semi-final first leg.
  • Advantage to North End after first leg
  • Goals from Blackshaw and Richardson seal win
  • GNE host Austell in second leg next Saturday
  • Winners will contest Wembley final on May 9

Milling around the players and officials of both clubs after the game, the message was almost identical from both - “it’s only half-time.”

For the home side it was a message of hope, but for the Hillmen it is a reminder that they must be 100% again in next Saturday’s return leg to ensure they get their dream day at Wembley.

Glossop North End v St Austell, FA Vase Semi-final first leg.

Glossop North End v St Austell, FA Vase Semi-final first leg.

The two-goal advantage that GNE take to Surrey Street is undoubtedly one they would have taken prior to kick-off, but they may have been disappointed the tie was not out of sight such were the chances they passed over.

As it is, it took a last minute goal to give the scoreline a hint of how the game panned out.

The teams exchanged early chances, with Lee Blackshaw unable to direct a header from Tom Bailey’s cross whilst at the other end Michael Bowler got his body in the way to block a shot from six yards after a low cross flashed in.

However, Glossop grabbed the advantage in the 16th minute.

Greg Hall kicked long from the back, Jason Carey nodded on and Blackshaw beat the offside trap.

He then waited for the ball to bounce into the box before lashing an unstoppable drive past Jason Chapman.

The nearly 200 strong GNE support that had made the long trek down to Cornwall thought they might be celebrating some more in the minutes that followed.

Keiran Lugsden went close twice with a curling free-kick and a low drive, denied by Chapman both times, and when Carey did beat the ‘keeper with a clipped shot the ball was intercepted by Lee Whetter on the line.

Lugsden then shot over and Bailey dipped a shot over the bar as the pressure continued and Carey again had a shot cleared off the line, by Martin Giles this time, as his shot was saved by the keeper’s legs and bounced off his chest towards the net.

Carey then got behind the defence again only to see his lobbed shot go wide.

At the start of the second half Bailey thought he had doubled the lead when running onto a Carey flick but was denied by the offside flag, then Carey’s looped header hit the top of the bar.

North End could, and maybe should, have been out of sight but a one goal lead is precarious.

GNE then survived a major scare when Hall missed his kick when trying to clear.

Bowler cleaned up behind his keeper comfortably, but it reminded the home team and supporters that the game was still in the balance, uneven though the play had been to that point.

The lively Neil Slateford had a shot blocked as Austell began to apply some pressure, although Glossop continued to press with Carey screwing a shot wide and Blackshaw’s attempt being pushed round a post.

Giles had a chance from a free kick for the Lillywhites but hit it straight at Hall, then at the other end Blackshaw’s lob landed on top of the net.

Captain Dave Young thought he had doubled the lead in the 88th minute when heading home a high cross but the referee called a foul before a chance dropped to St Austell’s leading scorer Liam Eddy, who shot across goal and wide.

Glossop weren’t done though, and in the 93rd minute Bailey pinched the ball at the left corner of the box and curled a shot towards the top corner.

It rebounded off the crossbar, but substitute Ben Richardson carefully watched the ball drop and finished coolly to give the visiting fans another goal to celebrate.

They duly obliged, immediately and long after the final whistle.

With just 90 minutes of this tie left, North End can almost smell the whiff of Wembley.