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It`s Advantage Shields & Glossop

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Saturday`s FA Vase Semi-Final first leg matches reviewed…

Highworth Town were waving the flag for the Uhlsport Hellenic League in the FA Carlsberg Vase Semi-Final first leg on Saturday against Ebac Northern League First Division side North Shields.

Michael McKeown, Adam Forster and Denver Morris all went close for Shields in the first 20 minutes, while Highworth’s Callum Parsons fired just wide.

Half-time was longer than usual because a North Shields supporter needed urgent medical treatment, and there was an altercation in the clubhouse.

Highworth had a couple of chances at the start of the second half, but the goal that mattered came on 69 minutes when Ben Richardson had a shot blocked, and Dean Holmes scored from the rebound.

Goals from Lee Blackshaw and Ben Richardson took Glossop North End a step nearer to their second appearance in a Vase final in the space of six years, as they emerged with a 2-0 aggregate lead from the first leg of their semi-final at Carlsberg South West Peninsula Leaguers AFC St Austell.

It was a fine all-round performance by Chris Willcock’s side, who were the better side throughout, against opponents backed by a partisan home support.

Glossop hit the ground running from the start and began well, dominating territory and possession, and they opened the scoring in the 12th minute.

A ball over the top was nodded on by Jason Carey into the path of Lee Blackshaw, who smashed a cracking shot into the top corner of the net to give the visitors a great start.

They began to turn the screw on a beleaguered home defence, and after Kieran Lugsden had an effort well saved by the keeper, Jason Carey beat the keeper with a shot only to see it cleared off the line.

Glossop maintained the pressure as the half wore on, with further efforts from Lugsden and Carey missing the target before the break.

The pattern carried on after half time, with Tom Bailey finding the back of the net only to see the goal ruled out for offside, before Jason Carey had a header rebound off the crossbar and cleared with the keeper beaten.

They then had a shout for a penalty when Blackshaw was upended in the box, and as the game moved into the last 20 minutes, a Jason Carey header was cleared off the line.

Inevitably St Austell would have a spell of pressure and as the game moved into the closing stages, the Glossop defence had to stay alert, although the home side never seriously troubled Greg Hall in the Glossop goal.

It wasn’t long before the play moved back up to the other end, and after a Blackshaw lob landed on top of the net, for the second time in the game Glossop had a goal ruled out, when a Jason Carey effort was disallowed for a foul on the keeper.

Visiting hearts were in mouths in the last minute when St Austell’s leading scorer Liam Eddy fired a shot across the face of goal, and as the game moved towards stoppage time, Glossop made their first substitution of the afternoon when Lee Blackshaw was replaced by Ben Richardson.

Moments later, the substitute made an immediate impact, when Tom Bailey curled a shot goal wards from the edge of the box that rebounded off the bar, and Richardson followed up to side-foot home a second goal from six yards to send the travelling band of Glossop supporters into noisy delirium.

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