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All To Play For In Buildbase FA Trophy Semi-Finals

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Both Buildbase FA Trophy Semi-Finals are nicely balanced going into the second legs next Saturday.

The all-Vanarama National League tie between Bromley and Gateshead at Hayes Lane saw the hosts take a narrow 3-2 lead north, while National League North side Brackley Town hold a 1-0 lead against National League South visitors Wealdstone after Saturday`s first leg at St James`s Park.

Bromley, who only made it through to this stage last Wednesday after beating Gateshead`s north-east neighbours Spennymoor Town in the much-delayed quarter-final, had a terrible start as the Tynesiders went in front in the
first-minute with a deflected effort from Richard Peniket which trickled in past David Gregory.

And the visitors were all over the hosts in the early stages and Danny Johnson almost doubled their lead in the 6th minute, but the ball crashed against the post.

The Ravens though were handed a way back into the game in the 15th minute when they were awarded a harsh-looking penalty for a tackle by Neill Byrne on Brandon Hanlan.

Hanlan duly converted the spot-kick straight down the middle.

That woke the hosts up and Adam Mekki was denied by a superb save from James Montgmomery on the half-hour mark.

However, 5 minutes from time, Gateshead were back in front after Johnson rounded Gregory and slotted home after some poor defending from the home side.

Six minutes after half-time though, Bromley were back on level terms when Louis Dennis cut in from the right and curled a beauty into the far corner.

On 65 minutes, Montgomery produced another terrific save to deny Hanlan from close range.

And with 8 minutes to go, the hosts took the lead for the first time in the tie when the ball fell kindly for Dennis to smash past Montgomery from close range.

That sets up the second leg at the International Stadium next Saturday very nicely.

The other tie in chilly Northamptonshire was a much more cagey affair with very few chances at either end.

The best opportunity of a disappointing first half went to Wealdstone when Bradley Bubb`s effort on 35 minutes was cleared off the line by Brackley defender and skipper Gaz Dean.

The second half was equally dominated by defences, although Stones` keeper Jonathan North saved well from Shane Byrne in the 82nd minute.

And 3 minutes later came the breakthrough when a Byrne corner fell to Alex Gudger who thundered his shot home past North to give Brackley a crucial one-goal advantage to take to Grosvenor Vale.

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