The nerves are setting in and the tension is starting to build ahead of the F.A Vase weekend. Now Glossop North End forward Ben Richardson has urged players in Saturday’s Semi-Finals to ensure they leave everything on the pitch, writes Richard Scott.
Bromsgrove Sporting will play Cleethorpes Town while favourites to lift the trophy, South Shields face Coleshill Town in the other game.
Richardson was part of the Derbyshire-based side that made the 2015 final and in fact, he scored the all-important second goal in the first leg as the Hillmen won 2-0 at St. Austell. In the second leg the Cornish side 1-0 but it wasn’t enough to force extra-time.
He said: “Have no regrets. You know that the final at Wembley is so close.
“In our second leg match we went to down to 10 men after five minutes, so we played 85 minutes with 10 men and they scored right at the death, there were two minutes added on and you are putting your life on the line as you want that experience of playing at Wembley.
“To score what turned out to be the winner to send us to Wembley was a great feeling.”
In the semi-final stage, the then North West Counties Football League side had a 650-mile round trip to play the first leg.
That distance that Chris Willcock’s side had to face meant enough time for team bonding and help boost the team spirit.
Richardson said: “The journey helped us build our team spirit, but it was unbreakable.
“We had a lot of long away journeys, especially in the FA Vase. We played Austell, Dunston, Worksop, Shaw Lane- who had invested a lot of money but we knew that we could win with the team spirit that we had in the changing room.
“I think that was the defining factor in some of our games, we scored late goals. We knew that we could go on and score late as we had that extra gear and go onto to win the game.
“We scored in extra-time at Worksop in the last 32, Dunston we came back twice and took them to extra-time in the last minute. Shaw Lane, we scored late on to take it to a replay.
“At St.Austell we scored a last minute goal and then we had to defend, which took us through to Wembley.”