THE FA Vase will not be coming back to the North-East for the first time in six years after West Auckland were beaten 1-0 by Sholing in the final at Wembley.
Marvin McLean’s second half strike was enough to decide a close affair in front of just over 5,000 in the capital despite West’s best efforts to force the game to extra-time.
It is the second time in three seasons West have suffered heartache at Wembley after losing to fellow Northern League side Dunston UTS in 2012.
In the opening stages there was some nervy moments from both sides with a few miss-placed passes and wayward kicks. However, it was West that brought the first chance of the game and it fell to former Darlington striker John Campbell five minutes in.
Denis Knight fed Campbell with a delightful through ball, but the West front man shot straight at Sholing keeper Matt Brown.
Despite West drawing the first save of the game, it was Sholing who settled better into the game with Marvin McLean exploiting space on the left. Their first chance fell to Lee Wort when he went through on goal after ten minutes but West keeper Jordan Nixon made the save.
Peter Dixon’s men were still finding their feet when a mistake from Brian Close gifted the ball to Barry Mason, but his long-range effort sailed wide to West’s relief.
McLean continued to cause problems on the left and after out-muscling Neil Pattinson, the midfielder opened up his body and tried to bend the ball round Nixon only to fire high into the stand.
West grew into the game as the half went on and their confidence quickly turned into chances with Brown making two fine saves to deny the County Durham side.
Shaun Vipond’s low drive was parried by Brown and then cleared, but moments later Robert Briggs’ 25-yard free kick forced a full stretch save from the Sholing keeper.
After the interval, Tyronne Bowers saw a long-range shot fly wide, before Nixon made a double save to deny Wort and then punch clear from Barry Mason’s cross.
Ten minutes into the second period, Mason forced another save from Nixon after a great ball over the top from Sholing with West again slowest out the blocks.
However, a minute later the ball fell to the feet of Moffat and with his back to goal, the West forward turned and got a shot in only to see his effort blaze over the bar.
It was the first real chance Dixon’s side had created after the break, but 14 minutes later Sholing took the lead.
As he had done in the first half, McLean was able to capitalise on space down the left channel and his lob found its way over Nixon and in with the help of a deflection from a last-ditch Lewis Galpin tackle.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of West, but they came close to grabbing an equaliser came when Knight’s free-kick was tipped over by Brown.
In the dying moments, West went agonisingly close to forcing extra-time when Knight’s header crashed off the post from a corner, but Sholing held on to keep the FA Vase in the south for the first time since 2008.