Vase trail: Fool If You Think It's Over
By Gary Broughton
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2010
Match 2. Tuesday 21st September 2010. 2nd Qualifying Round Replay. Oldham Boro v Abbey Hey. Abbey Stadium, Gorton.
It was definitely a case of deja vu for me on Tuesday evening as we headed to the cup replay, with the match again taking place at Abbey Hey's Abbey Stadium due to the Whitebank Stadium in Oldham being unavailable.
The missus was fit enough to make the trip this time, so I dragged her along, but I warned her that if it was anything like the first match at the weekend, she'd be wilting long before the end.
"Home" team Oldham Boro it was who netted the opening goal of the tie after about 140 minutes of total playing time. And it came from a mistake. A cross in from the right was headed back too casually to the keeper inside the area, and O'Sullivan was brilliantly alert to get his toe in just ahead of him to poke home the opener.
Abbey responded brightly and the no 11 had two chances, firing one straight at the keeper, and looping another over from a corner.
Boro had a tremendous chance to double their lead though, and the 9 really should have done better with a free header from a corner, but his effort sailed a foot over the crossbar.
And they were made to pay five minutes before half-time when a free-kick from wide out on the left was floated across to the far post, with Gibson being the one of three Abbey attackers who could have headed home from four yards out.
The second half started slowly, and it was on the hour mark when the next chance came. A speculative long punt from the Boro keeper released no 8, who chipped over the advancing keeper, but a defender scrambled back to head behind for a corner.
Just two minutes later Abbey Hey took the lead for the first time in the tie. A break down the right by no 10 took him to the edge of the area, and he unselfishly played across the area for captain Andy Levendis to stroke home the simplest of tap-ins.
Abbey were reduced to ten men with ten minutes to go, but Boro were struggling to put together any meaningful moves, and as injury time loomed we moved further down the pitch anticipating the imminent drive home.
Cue an Oldham Boro corner from the left, inadvertantly flicked on by an Abbey defender, and cleverly headed back across goal into the left hand corner by Hughes. 2-2, and another half an hour to come!
And it was Hughes again inside the first three minutes of extra time who grabbed what proved to be the winner, his scuffed shot from the right edge of the area from a partially cleared free-kick squirming its way into the net via the left hand upright.
Abbey Hey huffed and puffed without creating anything clear cut, but were desperatly unlucky in the final minute when a cleared corner was met on the volley 25 yards out by the no 2, his rasping drive bouncing down off the crossbar and away to safety.
Elkie Brooks belted out "Fool if you think it's over" back in the 70s, and it was certainly a case of that as the 90 minutes approached, which shows you can take nothing for granted in this game. So from being seconds away from going out, it is Oldham Boro who advance to the first round proper of the competition at St. Helens Town on Saturday 2nd October, and we'll be there to cover it.
FA VASE TRAIL SO FAR (team followed in capitals)
1st Qualifying Round
Sat 04 Sep 3pm NELSON v Abbey Hey (walkover for Abbey Hey)
2nd Qualifying Round
Sat 18 Sep 3pm ABBEY HEY 0 Oldham Boro 0 (after extra time)
2nd Qualifying Round Replay
Tue 21 Sep 7.45pm Oldham Boro 3 ABBEY HEY 2 (after extra time, played at Abbey Hey)