Published: 17:00, 07 March 2020
| Updated: 19:09, 07 March 2020
Emmanuel Oloyede scored an injury-time winner to send Corinthian into the last four of the FA Vase for the first time in their history on Saturday.
A dramatic afternoon at Gay Dawn Farm saw the game swing both ways before Southern Counties East title hopefuls Corinthian edged out Spartan South Midlands League Leighton Town to keep their Wembley dream alive.
The tone was set in a dramatic opening 12 minutes which saw three goals.
Jack Billings scored arguably the best goal of the game to put Corinthian ahead on eight minutes, collecting Oscar Housego’s reverse pass before rounding keeper Jamie Head and slotting home into an empty net.
The lead lasted just two minutes as a long free-kick from halfway was nodded down by James Towell for the lively Danny Webb to put Leighton on level terms.
But Corinthian’s response was immediate and a third goal in four minutes duly arrived when the ball fell kindly from a free-kick into the box for top scorer Luke Tanner to drive home into the far corner.
Corinthian keeper Aiden Prall pushed away Ashton Campbell’s long-range effort and then kept out Tom Silford’s free-kick just before the break.
But Leighton did find an equaliser just two minutes into the second half when substitute Louie Collier danced his way along the byline and Campbell’s effort hit two Corinthian players before bouncing fortunately into the net.
Leighton were the dominant force and it needed a magnificent save by Prall to somehow keep out Collier’s close-range effort after Webb caused problems with his pace for the hosts.
It was no surprise that Leighton went ahead on 65 minutes when Webb again got into a dangerous position and his cross was headed in by Campbell.
Corinthian boss Michael Golding introduced Josh Stirman and George Snelling, freeing up the impressive Jack Mahoney to influence the game further forward, master-stroke that saw the home side get back into the contest.
They levelled matters in the 76th minute when Mahoney’s free-kick was headed in by unmarked skipper Jack Bath.
Now it was Corinthian’s turn to get on top, but it was not until stoppage time that they nudged ahead.
Mahoney again drove forward before squaring into the penalty area where Oloyede took advantage of an unfortunate slip by the last defender, keeping his composure to fire his shot beyond Head in the first minute of stoppages.
Corinthian held on during a further five minutes of injury time – which must have felt like a lifetime - and now face a two-legged semi-final with Northern League side Hebburn Town later this month with a place in May’s Wembley final up for grabs.
Corinthian: Prall, Jack Billings, Trueman, Mahoney (Sawyer 90mins), Jamie Billings, Bath, Oloyede, Kinnear (Snelling 70mins), Tanner, Housego, Tobon (Stirman 65mins). Subs not used: Campbell, Johnson, Morgan, Fox.
Leighton: Head, Bryant, Silford, Murphy (Pattie 90mins), Resch, Frederick, McClelland (Turner 73mins), Osborne (Collier 40mins), Towell, Webb, Campbell. Subs not used: Baird, Adams, Condon, Foulger.
More by this authorMatthew Panting