Glossop North End drew 1-1 with Skelmersdale United in Saturday’s FA Cup First Qualifying Round tie at Surrey Street.
A curtailed whistle from the referee deep into second half injury time caused consternation, as it caused the Hillmen to lose concentration for a vital few moments in which their opponents grabbed an equaliser.
Having extended the three minutes added on due to some blatant time wasting, the referee blew his whistle twice as he thought a skirmish might be developing by the visitors corner flag.
As it was, nothing was happening, so he stopped blowing after two blasts. The trouble was, most in the ground thought it was the final whistle (which is three blasts) and so did some of the GNE players.
Skem continued, took a free kick, punting it to their left wing and put in a low cross that was turned into his own net by Martin Parker.
It was the 95th minute, and Glossop were gobsmacked on and off the pitch, but in truth the game should have been won by that point. Instead, they must head to Skelmersdale on Tuesday for a replay.
The first half was a very low key affair, with only one chance of real note. That came in the fourth minute when Skem were given too much time on the left wing to cross and George Donnelly rose highest to head goalwards, only for Greg Hall to dive full length and push it wide.
Hall had a terrific game, catching every high cross put in all afternoon.
North End’s best first half chance came when Jamie Rainford curled a 44th minute free kick just over the corner of the goal, but they started the second half with a renewed confidence, playing much brighter.
That paid dividends in the 52nd minute when neat play worked the ball left to Astley Mulholland. He dropped his shoulder to get to the by-line and deliver a terrific cross to the far post where Tom Bailey nodded in from short range.
Skem claimed a penalty handball on 59 minutes when the ball struck Bowler’s arm as he ran across a ball into the box, but due to his distance from the fast travelling ball it would have been a extremely harsh decision.
Rainford forced a superb save from Martin Fearon in the Skem goal when he controlled in the box, turned on a sixpence, and shot to the far corner but should have scored in the 71st minute when he and Mulholland found themselves two-on-one with a Skem defender.
The North End leading scoring ignored Mulholland and brilliantly skipped past his opponent, leaving him clear to shoot. Such has been his season it was expected he’d net, but Fearon saved with his body.
Louis Corrigan curled a free kick from a dangerous position over the bar for the visitors as they chased the game, but GNE skipper Dave Young came closest to scoring in regular time when he met a free kick with a bullet header.
He watched in agony as the ball hit the bar and bounced down on the line, then away from goal. The 90 minutes were up, and the Hillmen tried to keep the ball in the corner. For the most part it worked, until that sickener, right at the death.