Holmes’ strike leaves North Shields just 90 minutes from Wembley

Dean Holmes celebrates opening the scoring for North Shields in their FA Vase semi final first leg clash with Highworth.

Dean Holmes celebrates opening the scoring for North Shields in their FA Vase semi final first leg clash with Highworth.

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North Shields travelled with confidence to their FA Vase Semi Final first leg with only leading striker Gareth Bainbridge missing from the squad.

Dean Walker came in to lead the line, with Denver Morris and Dean Holmes providing support from out wide as they looked to return to the Daren Persson Stadium with a lead over Highworth for the second leg.

Adam Forster and Ben Richardson patrolled the middle of the park with Michael McKeown on call with his sublime passing skills.

At the back long serving keeper Michael Robinson was well protected by full backs Jack Donnison and Marc Lancaster with the dominant John Parker, who has experienced the Wembley turf with West Auckland, alongside skipper Kevin Hughes.

The Tynesiders took the game to their hosts early on with McKeown’s cross cum shot almost turned in by Forster with Highworth custodian Garry Stevens bravely blocking and somehow the ball was hacked off the line.

The hosts just were not in it at this stage with both Morris and Walker not too far off the mark with half chances.

As the half wore on the hosts started to threaten and Robinson saved a far post header and seconds before the turnaround Callum Parsons unleashed a terrific drive that cleared the bar.

The start of the second half was delayed as a casualty amongst the fans required paramedic treatment and it was Highworth who appeared to benefit most from the stoppage.

Bohane had a shot tipped behind by Robinson then the keeper parried again with Hughes heading the follow up off the line.

The decisive goal on 69 minutes came as Robinson’s long punt upfield fell to substitute James Luccock.

His immediate impact saw him drive across the face of goal with Richardson unlucky not to convert, thwarted by the keeper but Holmes showed great reaction to slot home.

Wonderful scenes and the robust Shieldsmen held on for a crucial advantage but it is still all to play for come Saturday at the Daren Persson Stadium, kick off 3pm.