It was a second Wembley FA Vase final heartbreak for Glossop North End as they failed to complete their historic dream of a treble with a 2-1 extra time loss to North Shields.
Chris Willcock’s side began the game brightly, not seemingly overawed by their surroundings, as they were backed by a huge vocal support who’d travelled down from Derbyshire. It was the Hillmen who created the game’s first chance as Michael Bowler raced down the right hand side, curled in a brilliant cross and Kieran Lugsden out-jumped his marker but headed straight into the keepers hands.
At the other end North Shields first chance came from a corner as a close range header was cleared off the line by Kieran Lugsden. Set pieces would be a key theme of the game as on 35 minutes as the North Shields goalkeeper flapped at a GNE corner, the ball felt to Dave Young who’s clipped effort from 6 yards just cleared the cross bar.
Glossop continued to press in the final minutes of the first half as Bowler, a constant threat in the first half saw another low cross blocked out for a corner. Sam Hare had Glossop’s best chance of the half but he headed a tame effort to the keeper.
The best chance of the first half, however, fell to North Shields as leading goalscorer Gareth Bainbridge ran through the middle of the Glossop defence and goalkeeper Greg Hall made a brilliant save low and to his left. Even more impressively, the replay showed that Hall had been unsighted when the ball was kicked.
At the other end the North Shields goalkeeper Christopher Bannon was called into action once more as he saved a low shot smartly with his legs from Kieran Lugsden to ensure that the sides went into the half all square.
Glossop kicked off the second half attacking the end filled with the noisy Glossop ultra’s. It was the Northern League side who started the brighter as first a swerving shot from range cannoned off the top of the Glossop crossbar. Shields would go close again as Hall was forced to tip another effort onto the roof of the net.
On 55 minutes Glossop took the lead, a set piece was the break through, with the corner whipped in, Young headed it down, it was half cleared to the edge of the six yard box to Kieran Lugsden, he crossed it low back across the six yard line and Tom Bailey stabbed it over the line to send the Glossop supporters into delirious raptures.
Glossop were forced into their first change on the hour mark as Eddie Moran, who’d played the entire first half with an injury, was forced off with a knock, and replaced by Daniel White. Glossop buoyed by their goal almost doubled their lead on 68 minutes as Bailey whipped in a wicked cross to the near post, Kieran Lugsden head just wide at the near post from 6 yards out.
Glossop were forced into a second sub through injury as Ben Richardson replaced Lee Blackshaw. Despite the enforced changes Willcock’s men continued to be in comfortable control of the game.
However North Shields still continued to press and won a corner after Shields worked the right hand side and Hall couldn’t prevent the corner. From the corner, the in-swinging cross was met by Bainbridge at the near post, un-marked and headed home at the near post to the delight on their fans. With just 8 minutes reminaing it was a killer blow for Glossop who hadn’t looked like conceding and was the first set piece they’d conceded from all season.
As with the end of the first half, the end of the second was just as frantic with Glossop creating multiple chances to win it as they first had another chance blocked from a corner but the North Shields dropped another corner only for the shot to be hit straight against him whilst he was on the floor. Eight minutes of stoppage time couldn’t separate the two sides and extra time was greeted with both sides feeling the effects of playing such a high energy game on the huge playing surface.
Neither side could find the breakthrough and it would require extra time to produce a winner. As both sides received their extra time instructions it was notable how many players appeared to be stretching out cramp.
The winning goal came on 95 minutes, with virtually extra time’s first attack, as the ball reached the North Shield Denver Morris on the right hand side, he raced down the wing and his low cross evade the entire Glossop defence but found Shields sub Adam Forster at the far post who pulled his shot back across goal and into the bottom right hand corner.
A double blow was to come as Dave Young received a solid elbow to the chin and hit the deck without moving. After more than a minute unconscious ‘Youngy’ was able to sit up and eventually get to his feet. He returned to the action but moments later he was ordered from the field by the referee after the stadium doctor told him that he could not continue. As the half time whistle blew Young and the Glossop management team were still upset with the decision as they were forced to play the last 15 minutes with only 10 men.
The second half began with a much slower tempo with both teams feeling the affects of the high intensity game. The last 15 minutes produced fewer chances but were no less dramatic as North Shields did their best to kill the game whilst Glossop did their best to level despite their man disadvantage. In fact the last two minutes of the game saw Greg Hall play as an emergency striker, however with both teams literally out on their feet the referee called an end to an absorbing game as North Shields were crowned FA Vase winners for 2015.
Despite the harsh manner of the defeat everyone at Glossop North End can be proud of the way they performed, giving everything they had, and the way they represented the NWCFL.
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