Richmond Town progressed into The Monkwearmouth Charity Cup semi-final after a 4-3 victory over Gateshead Leam Rangers.
However, a knee injury to Kalumn Holbrook which looks like bringing an end to the inform midfielder’s season soured an eventful afternoon at Earls Orchard.
After dominating large parts of a game which should have been settled long before the final whistle, town were forced to hang on in the closing minutes against a side who to their credit never gave up.
Richmond were out of the blocks quickly and were ahead with less than a minute played, with Holbrook scoring from the penalty spot having been brought down by Anthony Lowther.
The game was in only its third minute when the lead was doubled after some slick passing from midfield found Ben Darville who flicked the ball through to Holbrook.
His first time cross picked out Scott Ryan at the back post to finish a great team move.
With only ten minutes on the clock Gateshead were gifted a way back into the game when Mark Walker’s poor clearance went straight to Karl Taylor who made no mistake.
Minutes later Walker was back to his best, making amends for his earlier mistake pushing a shot round the post for a corner.
With Richmond’s back line having soaked up a spell of pressure, at the other end the home side were awarded another penalty after Darville was brought down.
Again Holbrook stepped up, but this time Leam Rangers keeper Neil Postlethwaite produced a fine save.
It wasn’t long after that the injury to Holbrook brought a delay in proceedings before being stretchered off.
Once the game was restarted, Postlethwaite was kept busy, denying Chris Pattison, Ryan and Darville.
But after keeping out another Pattison strike from a tight angle, he could only push the ball to Darville who fired home Richmond’s third of the afternoon.
There was still more to come from an action packed first half, when in the 40th minute the Gateshead side scored again.
Clipping a free kick from wide towards the back post, the unmarked Connor Halpin finished well, finding the bottom corner of Walkers net.
On the stroke of half time Richmond went close once more when man of the match Jimmy Muir‘s free kick from twenty five yards out hit the underside of the bar.
The second half followed in similar fashion with Town having far more possession than their opponents, being strong at the back whilst quick in attack.
Darville should have made it four when Muir produced a clever ball to Ryan Booth who crossed brilliantly but Town’s top scorer headed over the bar.
Muir, playing superbly in the centre of midfield, was again in the thick of the action with an hour played.
After linking up with Darville he got beyond the Leam Rangers right back then with the outside of his boot played a sublime cross for Ryan who volleyed home from six yards.
Richmond were looking comfortable in seeing the game out but after 80 minutes Leam Rangers ensured a nervy ending when Anthony Brewis scored from a corner.
Richmond managed to get through the final minutes of the game to take their place in the last four.
After the match, manager Jonathan Kellett’s immediate thoughts were with Holbrook.
“It’s such bad luck. This is the third time he’s suffered this type of injury in recent years. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
“He’s been performing superbly all season and will be a massive loss to us.
“We played really well today and should have made things a lot easier for ourselves but for the missed chances.
“Jimmy Muir was outstanding and after missing for a while through injury recently, he’s had a decent run of games and is starting to show why we were delighted he signed for us back in the summer.”