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Spennymoor win the FA Vase
Spennymoor Town 2 Tunbridge Wells 1
Chris Mason and Daniel Moore lifted the FA Vase after a goal ten minutes from time by Keith Graydon gave Spennymoor Town victory at Wembley.
They faced Tunbridge Wells in the first ever visit to the national stadium, and they marked the occasion with a thoroughly deserved win.
Mason, from Newton Aycliffe, was given the armband after usual skipper Moore suffered a broken ankle a week ago, leaving him heartbroken and on the sidelines for the big occasion.
But, following goals either side of the break from Graydon and Gavin Cogdon, Moore climbed the steps to lift the silverware to great cheers from the estimated 4,500 Spennymoor supporters.
Having missed out on the Northern League title to Darlington, Spennymoor were desperate to enjoy Wembley glory, but they had to deal with some early pressure, Tunbridge forcing the first corner on five minutes and then keeper Robbie Dean made a good two-handed save to stop Josh Stanford’s shot from the edge of the area.
But Moors soon won two quick corners of their own, both taken by Graydon who was booed mercilessly by well over opposition supporters - numbering around 12,000 - as he swung over the ball. It wasn’t something he usually has to deal with at Northern League level.
Graydon soon helped silence them, however, when Gavin Cogdon headed home from eight yards.
The striker was one of the smallest men on the pitch, but he took advantage of slack marking to meet Graydon’s cross to the far post and score on 17 minutes.
The goal was his 11th of Moors’ Vase run, one that he celebrated with his trademark handstand, something that did not go down well the Tunbridge supporters.
Strike-partner Mark Davison almost found the net shortly afterwards. His curling low effort from the corner of the penalty area bounced just wide as Spennymoor enjoyed a bright spell.
Gavin Cogdon kisses the Wembley turf after opening the scoring for Spennymoor
Following his goal, Cogdon had been booed by the Tunbridge fans and they would have had another reason to be upset with the striker had a heavy touch not cost him a second goal.
Put through one-on-one, he knocked the ball too far in front of him and Tunbridge keeper Chris Oladogba was able to collect at Cogdon’s feet, though he took a knock for his efforts.
The goal had silenced the Tunbridge fans, leading Spennymoor’s to chat: “Shall we sing for you.” Something the opposition responded with: “We pay your benefits.”
Moors’ defence held firm, never in great danger, and although midfielder Andy McMath got a shot away it was a tame effort saved easily by Dean.
Although not a huge difference between the sides in the first half, Spennymoor looked more threatening, more capable of creating a chance. They also had the centre-midfield pairing of Graydon and Lewis Dodds, both able to put their foot on the ball and getting an attack underway.
On the wings were the pacy Wayne Phillips and Joe Walton, the former firing over two crosses that led to chances. The first saw Leon Ryan head on to the roof of the net and then second led to Tunbridge left-back Lewis Mingle accidentally head against his own woodwork.
Ainsley’s men were looking good for another goal and only a diving save from Oladogba prevented them getting it. Kallum Griffiths’ ball through to an offside-looking Davison saw Moors No. 9 lash the ball towards goals, but the keeper pushed it wide, with Stephen Capper shooting wide from the resulting corner.
Spennymoor had taken a firmer grip as the first half had progressed and looked good for a second, which nearly came just after the restart when Walton blasted an effort wide.
But a slip from Deane at the other end could have led to an equaliser. Right-back Jason Bourne swung a high ball over which Deane dropped, but he quickly recovered to snuff out any danger.
Opposite number Oladogba then kept his team in the contest with two saves in a minute, the first to keep out danger man Cogdon. After receiving a raking ball from the back by Chris Mason, he twisted and turned in the area before blasting at goal, but the keeper was equal to the effort. He also stopped Phillips’ drive after the resulting corner.
Oladogba had had a couple of flaps before the break, when there appeared to be a breakdown in communication with his defence, but he was proving to be the difference between the two sides.
He then bravely raced to the edge of the area to stop Cogdon. However, two chances inside a minute then fell to Tunbridge
Perry Spackman, the man that scored the semi-final winner against Shildon, went up for a Tom Davey free-kick and from a tight angle saw Deane tip his shot over the bar, before Spackman powerfully headed wide when meeting McMath’s corner.
Soon Ainsley made his first change, replacing Phillips with Anthony Peacock, but the substitute was soon lying prone on the Wembley turf after being ‘welcomed’ into action by Perry Spackman.
An angry Ainsley leapt to his feet, but referee Michael Naylor showed only a yellow card to the centre-back, who has already known made his mark in the North-East by scoring the semi-final goal which knocked out Shildon.
The chances continue for a strong Spennymoor side. Cogdon had a shot blocked at close-range by a defender and then Oladogba was called into action again, saving from Davison, who then headed wide from a Graydon cross, though, momentarily, the Moors fans thought the effort was in.
The Tunbridge supporters jeered the near miss, and they were soon cheering as Stanford equalised after a weak punch by Deane.
After Bourne's cross, he could clearly only to the edge of area from where Stanford showed fine technique to volley home.
But within 120 seconds Moors led again.
Graydon had been a touch of class all afternoon in midfield, and it was he that blasted home. After sub Andrew Stephenson had been blocked by the Tunbridge defence, he laid the ball off for Graydon and the Irishman thundered the ball home.
Keith Graydon celebrates putting Spennymoor 2-1 up
It was quite a finish for the midfielder, and he raced over to the Moors fans to celebrate.
There were ten minutes to go until the final whistle, ten more minutes for Moors to either get a third goal or Tunbridge to level again.
In truth, neither appeared likely as Moors settled for their 2-1 lead while the visitors, a late corner aside, did not look like grabbing a goal. Deane punched the corner clearly and soon the final whistle was blown to signal Spennymoor becoming FA Vase winners.
It’s the first time that Moors have the Vase in their history, but it’s the fifth consecutive year that a North-East team has won the competition. Whitley Bay won in 2009, 2010, 2011, Dunston last year and now it’s Spennymoor’s turn to taste glory.
Goals: Cogdon (18, 1-0); Stanford (78, 1-1); Graydon (80, 2-1)
Bookings: Spackman (65, foul); Dodds (84, foul)
Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)
Spennymoor Town: Dean; Griffiths, Mason, Ryan, Capper; Walton (Stephenson 73), Dodds, Grayson, Phillips (Peacock 64); Cogdon, Davison (Rae 75). Subs (not used): Knight (gk), Richardson
Tunbridge Wells: Oladogba; Bourne, Whibley, Spackman, Mingle; Pilbeam (Sinden 85), Fuller (Davey 57), McMath, Stanford; Cornell (Harris 57), Irvine. Subs (not used): Czanner (gk), Boyle
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