A landmark day for the Uhlsport Hellenic League with three teams competing for a place in the semi-final for the first time ever.
In front of a crowd of 2,200 at Melksham Town’s impressive recently built Oaklands stadium, Thatcham Town were one-goal victors over the Toolstation Western League Premier Division side.
In a game that wasn’t a classic by any means, the result could have gone either way, and looked destined for a replay.
Then in the 89th minute Ekow Elliot shuffled the ball well to create space, before slotting it into the back of the net.
After a long period of added time, the referee blew the full-time whistle to see the Kingfishers earn their place the semi-final draw tomorrow.
The road to Wembley ended for the Hellenic League’s other two teams in contention
Bracknell Town’s Vase dreams came to an end in front of a crowd of 1,142 at Larges Lane.
Ebac Northern League First Division visitors Marske United maintained their excellent away record this season when they won 3-0.
Marske have kept their best form for away trips this season and have only lost once in their travels in the league, and they were in no danger of losing on Bracknell’s 3G pitch once they took the lead just before half-time.
Manager Carl Jarrett said; “I didn’t think we were at our best in the first half, Bracknell were better than what we expected them to be.
“They caused us a few problems, but our first goal, which was an absolute belter, settled us down. I had a few words in the dressing at half time – shall we say – and in the second half we were much quicker and much sharper. Bracknell couldn’t deal with our work rate and we were superb. There were some very good performances.
“I know people are talking about an all Teesside final now, but it doesn’t matter who we play now, because they’re all very good teams.
“If we’re going to win the Vase, then we’ve got a lot of work to do, and I certainly don’t think we’re favourites. If we play Stockton in the semis, then so be it, but no matter who we play, it will take a very good team to beat us.”
Marske took the lead just before half-time with a powerful strike by Glen Butterworth, and they went 2-0 up when Craig Gott opened up the Bracknell defence for Curtis Round to run through and score. It was all over in the last minute when Round flicked the ball on for Danny Earl to fire in.
Windsor FC travelled to Teesside to compete against Marske`s league rivals Stockton Town.
A crowd of 1,213 witnessed the home side secure a 2-0 win at Bishopton Road West to continue their fairytale rise from nowhere in two years.
Manager Micky Dunwell said; “It was another great day for us. It was a great atmosphere in the ground with so many Boro fans turning up. We have come such a long way in two years, considering that we were playing in the Wearside League on a school pitch that was roped off.
“I am delighted for so many people at the club, players, fans and everyone off the field.
“I don’t mind who we play now, there are some very good teams left in the competition. I’d rather wait until the final to play Marske, but that’s assuming both clubs get there.
“I’ve told our players that they must enjoy the feeling of getting to the semi-final of a national competition, because they might never get here again.
“I thought we deserved our win. We were comfortable from the moment that we got our noses in front.”
Stockton took the lead on 28 minutes through defender Tom Coulthard from a few yards, and hot shot striker Jamie Owens got the second with a header before half time.
They stayed well in control in the second half, and only had one scare near the end when Windsor had a shot cleared off the line.
The road to Wembley is getting ever closer for Hallmark Security League Premier Division side 1874 Northwich, after their hard fought 1-0 win at Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division Leighton Town moved them into the last four of the competition.
A 25th minute penalty from Scott McGowan – his 25th goal of the season – was the highlight of a disciplined and composed performance from the Greens, who showed a level of guile, determination and organisation that proved to be too much for their opponents to overcome.
Once the lead was established, 1874 controlled the game for long spells, restricting their opponents to long-range efforts on goal, and balls into the box from set pieces, all of which were dealt with comfortably by goalkeeper Greg Hall and his well-organised back line.