David Dowson scored a dramatic penalty deep into extra-time to send West Auckland Town through to the third round of the FA Vase at the expense of local rivals Bishop Auckland.
West could have had the tie wrapped up within 90 minutes if Amar Purewal’s first half header was not disallowed by referee Barry Brookes for an adjudged handball.
Instead, Dowson, who struck the match winner when the two sides met in August at the Wanted Stadium, produced late heroics once more and rifled home his spot-kick in the 117th minute of extra-time to conclude a feisty, topsy-turvy encounter at Heritage Park.
In the opening ten minutes, a number of chances fell to Gary Forrest’s side in quick succession. Firstly, Adam Mitchell’s strike from the edge of the area deflected of Ryan Robinson and was parried behind by Nick Liversedge with the resulting corner headed out of the ground by Daniel Mitton.
And Anthony Bell’s blistering run from inside his own half saw him breeze past multiple Bishop players before dragging his shot inches wide of the left-hand post.
The hosts mustered their first real threat on 18 minutes when Kieron Parnaby flicked his header on for Kyle Fryatt to chase and following a tight angle, the latter dinked his effort against the foot of the post before Parnaby was denied with the follow up via Tom Flynn.
As the half wore on, there was little action at either end as the Northern League sides remained well organised and defensively solid.
On 43 minutes, West thought they went ahead after Liam Hegarty’s right-sided cross was nodded home by Purewal, though much to the delight of Ian Chandler’s side, it was immediately ruled out following a suspected handball in the build-up.
After the break, a well-worked Bishop corner was punched clear by Flynn and from that, West looked to hit their opponents on the counterattack and Rees Greenwood linked up superbly with Bell only to be stopped via a fine save from Liversedge.
The former Gateshead and Sunderland product then struck the post with a venomous strike from 25 yards as the Two Blues were determined to weather the storm.
Yet with two minutes remaining, Bishop nearly snatched a late goal through James Fairley, who’s low shot from the right forced Flynn into a crucial block.
And at the other end, a last-gasp winner also eluded Forrest’s side as Liversedge prevented Mitchell courtesy of an outstretched save and Hegarty’s vigorous effort cannoned off the bar to signal an additional half an hour to be played.
With the contest evenly poised after the first period of extra-time, the hosts had a great opportunity to take the lead within seconds of getting back underway, but Fairley hesitantly squandered his chance and fired fractionally over the woodwork.
And the miss proved to be costly for the Two Blues as in the 116th minute, West were awarded a penalty when Daryll Hall was alleged to have brought down Dowson inside the area despite heated protests from the Bishop technical area, who were adamant it was a fair challenge.
The Bishop Auckland born forward stepped up and slotted past Liversedge to spark jubilant scenes among the visiting supporters and give West bragging rights in the Auckland Derby as well as a place in the third round.
Bishop Auckland – Liversedge, Waller, Robinson, Potter, Hall, Fairley, Morris, Fryatt, Winn (c) (Johnson, 93), Parnaby (Prudhoe, 98), Richardson (Tumilty, 56)
Subs not used – Young, Chandler, Nixon
West Auckland – Flynn, Hegarty, Dodds (c), Mitton, Harwood, Francis, A. Bell (Cobain, 118), Mitchell, Dowson, Purewal, Greenwood
Subs not used – Burnicle, Colquhoun, M. Bell, Connor, Hornsby
Goal – Dowson (117’ pen)
Referee – Barry Brookes
Attendance – 517
Photo by Andy Mitchell