Glossop North End are step closter to Wembley!

Chris Willcock celebrates with Glossop fans after reaching the FA Vase semi-final
Chris Willcock celebrates with Glossop fans after reaching the FA Vase semi-final

Glossop North End reached the last four of the FA Vase after an epic 3-1 extra-time win over Shaw Lane Aquaforce in the quarter-final replay.

For the fifth FA Vase tie in succession the Hillmen were forced into the extra half hour, and yet again their fitness proved key as they out-lasted their visitors to progress into the semi-finals.

Chris Willcock’s team are just 180 minutes from a Wembley final, with a home and away tie versus St Austell between them and the showpiece event.

Not that that tie will be any easier than this one.

Tension and a strong wind hampered the two teams for much of the game.

Lee Blackshaw’s low drive from the corner of the box forced Shaw Lane ‘keeper Ben Gathercole into a terrific low save in one of the few first-half chances.

The Barnsley-based visitors then saw Luke O’Brien fashion an opening only to miskick before Joe Thornton flashed a curled shot past the far post.

However the chance of the half fell to Chris Denham, who really ought to have secured the lead for North End when a good switched move from right to left put him in on the angle, at the corner of the six-yard box.

Unfortunately, with only the keeper to beat Denham hit the side netting.

The second half started with a succession of GNE corners, Martin Parker getting his head to one and forcing another fine save from Gathercole, tipping it over the bar.

However, Shaw Lane continued to threaten once that spell was broken, and Shane Kelsey should have done better than blasting over the bar from Thornton’s dangerous turn and cross.

Kelsey nearly made amends on 57 minutes when volleying a shot from the corner of the box that Greg Hall did well to get down low and push wide.

This was part of a spell of Shaw Lane pressure, both sides having a few minutes in the ascendancy.

Aquaforce grabbed a scoreline advantage in the 77th minute.

Andrew Fox picked up the ball on the edge of the area and passed left to Thornton, who had drifted away from his marker.

Thornton controlled the ball and lashed it past Hall, silencing the noisy home crowd of 1,010 for a moment.

GNE tried to hit back immediately, and from a corner Parker hit the post with a header, then in the scramble that followed Tom Bailey’s shot hit the other post!

Time was ticking away, but in the 87th minute North End drew level via a belting strike.

Blackshaw received the ball on halfway, and delivered a first time ‘round the corner’ ball that set substitute Sam Hind away on the right.

With the angle narrowing with every stride Hind unleashed an unstoppable drive past Gathercole to spark wild celebrations.

In the extra period, Hind’s shot was saved by Gathercole’s legs and Bowler drove a shot over the top, whilst Dave Young’s timely interception broke up Chris White’s run towards goal.

Then North End took the lead.

There were 102 minutes on the watch when a ball was lofted over the full-back towards Jason Carey.

There was only a moment of hesitation from the defence, but that was all Carey needed as he chested the ball down and poked a shot past the keeper.

Carey nearly added another when he took advantage of an injured Shaw Lane player near his own box by pushing forward into what otherwise might be an ‘offside’ position behind the back line.

Carey, expected to hold the ball and run down the clock, then found a gap in the coverage and took the ball past two men, into the box and shot across the keeper into the far corner to make it 3-1.

Glossop must now negoitate a difficult tie against Austell before they can think of a return to the national stadium.