Dock travelled to Wallasey for this 4thRd tie against a strong and up for it Big House who had accounted for some notable scalps in previous rounds. Our Wallasey contingent translated and showed us the local customs and a large crowd gathered in anticipation of a pulsating encounter.

Ian Brunt demanded showdown talks with manager McGraa as he felt unfairly singled out for being the scapegoat for last week’s shambolic defending. The talks must have gone well as he was shifted into midfield and the ‘The ‘Drobe’ was dropped to the bench!

Dock were on the attack as early as the first minute as a Gary Reay through ball put Mick Saunders in on goal only to be thwarted with a last gasp tackle in the box. Shaun Holmes saw the yellow card for dissent after two minutes, (rather harsh) and on six minutes a Josh Dures cross field pass to Jamie Kenyon saw his cross just elude the incoming Reay. One minute later ‘The Goose’ turned over a long range effort over the bar for a corner. Under pressure for a minute or so, Dock defended well in response to three corners on the trot and dealt with the threat by getting solid blocks and good defensive headers in to clear any danger.

A speculative ball over the top on eight minutes left ‘The Goose’ in no man’s land as he came to clear but the Big House forward lobbed over the bar. Four minutes later a similar ball split the Dock defence and Colin O’Hanlon had to clear of the line as the Big House player rounded ‘The Goose’ and steered his effort goal wards.

Fifteen minutes had elapsed as Brunty put in an almighty challenge to break up a Big House attack and set the Dock away. It was end to end stuff and a frantic first quarter with big tackles coming in from both sides.

Mick Saunders found himself in space in between the lines and his surging run found Reay who scuffed his shot wide and soon after that, The Big House forward was put through with a hint of offside, but not given, and Liam Simon averted the danger with a brilliant saving tackle. On the twenty minute mark Reay lobbed the keeper but wide of the post. A minute later another surging run from Saunders stretched the Big House defence but came to nothing.

Josh Dures had put his mark on the game with a series of big tackles and probing passes but on the half hour mark he surpassed even this with a goal of the highest quality. Liam Simon took a free kick towards Brunty’s massive ‘Heed’, he duly won the header towards Dures who was on the edge of the box and he produced a brilliant overhead kick to make it 1.0 to the Dock.

With the opening goal in the bag the Dock turned the screw with a series of heavy challenges and vital blocks with O’Hanlon, Dures, Simon, Hammond and Brunt all prominent. Just before the half time whistle Reay turned the centre half to put Shaun Holmes in only for him to shoot at the keeper. Brunty attempted a flying header at the ball only to miss completely and land face down in the mud to be called ‘The Flying Pig’ and Reay had a shot smothered by the Big House keeper as the whistle ended a good entertaining half of football.

Dock started the second half as they ended the first with Brunt spraying a 40 yard pass to the feet of Shaun Holmes that had everyone doing a double take to see who had passed it! Holmes got down the left again to cause problems with a shot that came off the goalie but with no one following up

Mark Head replaced Mick Saunders on the hour mark and minutes later Big House scored. O’Hanlon challenged for the ball with the Big House forward and the ball unluckily broke to the forward who shot home to scenes of huge delight from the home support.

In the 66thminute, as a result of the challenge, O’Hanlon was replaced by ‘The Drobe’ The opposition forward was also replaced as a result of tangling with Vidic but the goal had given Big House new vigour and ‘The Goose’ had to be alert as Paul ‘Old Trafford’ Byrne headed over him toward goal but the keeper gathered on the line under pressure. The Big House just upped the ante a notch and were looking dangerous as they pressed for a winner.

75 minutes had elapsed when Iggy McGraa replaced the hard working Jamie Kenyon and a tense last quarter was in store as both sides could win it. 78 minutes had gone when Reay shot at the keeper and the rebound was bundled round the post for a corner. A minute later a Head cross to the far post had Iggy stretching to make contact as he put it past the post.

As we prepared for extra time, Dock were awarded a free kick on the halfway line and Wallaseyan Lee Hammond drilled it towards ‘The Drobe’ at the far post. He went up with the keeper who spilled it and in the resulting scramble the ball ended up in front of The Reayman… one yard out! The outcome was inevitable and Reayman sent us into the semi –finals with a much acclaimed winner.

All in all, I think we shaded it but credit goes to a very good Big House side who gave as good as they got and they can feel aggrieved with the late winner.

Man of the match. A few in contention….Brunty, (seriously) Saunders and Vidic all done well but for the goal and all round work, graft and tackles, Josh Dures gets the vote.