Darren Gilbert thrilled as Bodmin close in on Wembley final
Bodmin Town took pride of place in Westcountry non-League football after their 3-2 defeat of Northern League outfit Ashington at Priory Park left them just three rounds from a Wembley final.
Bodmin boss Darren Gilbert will not be dreaming of that possibility at present but anything is possible in the Vase – just ask Truro City, who won the competition in 2007 while a step-six club.
Instead, Gilbert will keep his focus on his side's fifth-round tie at home to either Gornal Athletic or Wisbech Town, who play next Saturday, which was the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League club's reward for Saturday's impressive victory.
"We're just taking one game at a time and at present we are still taking in Saturday's events and the celebrations that followed," admitted a clearly delighted Gilbert.
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The Bodmin boss did admit that he will be going to Gornal to watch next Saturday's tie, adding: "We will be preparing in just the same manner for the fifth round, and who knows what will happen?"
As for Saturday's victory, he added: "I'm over the moon as this is something I didn't expect us to achieve and it's all credit to the groundsman, back-room staff, players and supporters for all their hard work and belief our ability."
The fifth round is the furthest Bodmin have progressed in the competition, but Saturday's performance will encourage their optimism.
Ashington play in one of the best step five leagues in the country, but they had to play second fiddle to a talented Bodmin outfit for large periods of the game.
Kevin Miller did make a couple of fine saves but so did Ashington goalkeeper Karl Dryden as Bodmin looked to finish off their opponents in the latter stages of the game.
Bodmin had the best of starts as Glynn Hobbs followed up on his own effort to give them a ninth-minute lead.
The game was end-to-end but it need a penalty for Ashington to equalise on the hour, after Olly Brokenshire's challenge was adjudged to be too high, giving Glen Taylor the opportunity to beat Miller from the penalty spot.
Bodmin took five minutes to restore their lead as Chris Luxton appeared to be fouled in the area, only for the referee to ignore home appeals for a penalty, but that did not matter as the ensuing melee ended with Steve Colwell smashing the ball home from ten yards.
Substitute Adam Carter then struck the visitors' crossbar before Dryden made a great save from the burly striker, but Carter was to have the last laugh as he made it 3-1 on 82 minutes.
Sam Matthews' through ball sent Carter bearing down on goal, and he sent a great shot across Dryden and inside the far post.
Ashington did not give up, and in the second minute of stoppage time a 25 yard free-kick ended up with Matt Grieve stabbing home their second goal from close range, but it came too late to steal Bodmin's thunder.
The last word went to Gilbert, who stated: "My players were magnificent to a man and the scoreline flattered Ashington, if I'm truthful."