CUP finals at Wembley Stadium are noted for their drama, their goals and their heroes. The 2012 FA Vase final between Dunston UTS and West Auckland Town was no different.

The FA Vase had replaced the FA Amateur Cup in 1974 after the FA Council called time on the distinction between an amateur and a professional footballer. Well over 200 clubs entered the first Vase competition of 1974-75 which was won by Hoddesdon Town of the Spartan League who beat Epson and Ewell of the Surrey Senior League.

The link between the FA Vase and the FA Amateur Cup was nicely recognised at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, May 13, 2012, when Albert Mendum, a member of the West Auckland team which was beaten 2-1 by Walthamstow Avenue in the 1961 FA Amateur Cup final, was interviewed on the pitchside before the game, with the interview broadcast around the stadium.

Another link between past and present surfaced because the 2012 Vase final was only the third time in the history of the stadium that two teams from the North East of England had contested a football final on the famous turf, after Bishop Auckland v Willington in the Amateur Cup final of 1950, and Bishop Auckland v Crook Town in the Amateur Cup final of 1954.

Thirdly, the Dunston UTS v West Auckland Vase final was the 101st football match since the new Wembley with its arch was opened in 2007.

Staying with numbers, it was also the eighth occasion out of the last 16 that a Northern League club had reached the final of the FA Vase. A Northern League club would go on to contest every final in the ten seasons from 2008-09 to 2017-18.

The Northern Echo: Dunston UTS midfield player Michael Dixon on the left with his father Paul holding his 1978 FA Vase winners medal.

Dunston UTS midfield player Michael Dixon on the left with his father Paul holding his 1978 FA Vase winners medal

More links between the past and present came along as Dunston UTS midfield player Michael Dixon followed in the footsteps of his father, Paul, who had been a member of the Newcastle Blue Star team which beat Barton Rovers 2-1 to win the Vase in 1978 under the "twin towers".

The Northern Echo: Words              West Auckland Town squad member Matthew Coad with his three children, Harley 5, Heath 3 and Jade 9 months, who were all mascots at the FA Vase final at Wembley on Sunday May13 2012.

West Auckland Town squad member Matthew Coad with his three children, Harley, five, Heath, three, and Jade, nine months, who were all mascots at the 2012 FA Vase final

Another hero was Matt Coad, a West Auckland squad member, whose career was nearly ended when he snapped a cruciate ligament playing for Crook Town. Surgeons replaced it with part of one of his hamstrings. Matt's three children Harley, five, Heath, three, and Jade, nine months, were mascots on the day, but unfortunately for Matt and his family, he was an unused substitute.

The Northern Echo: Strikers:- On the left Andrew Bulford the match winner with two goals for Dunston UTS with on thev right West Auckland striker and skipper Mattie Moffat

Finally, Dunston striker Andrew Bulford, became the Man of the Match with both goals in Dunston's 2-0 win, which meant that he became the first player to score in every round of the FA Vase competition. Bulford finished with 15 Vase goals, and he appeared on the front of the match programme (above) along with Mattie Moffat, the West Auckland striker and captain.

Talismanic West Auckland skipper Moffat played in a protective mask, which only arrived the day before the final, after he fractured a cheekbone, which meant that he was probably not at his best.

The Northern Echo reporter Craig Stoddart summed up the final: "Andrew Bulford was the difference between the sides as Dunston UTS overcame West Auckland Town to claim the FA Vase in an all-North East final at Wembley."

The attendance was 5,126

The Northern Echo: FA Vase Final at Wembley.  Dunston V's West Auckland. West Auckland's Michael Rae and Dunston's Michael Robson.

Michael Rae, the West Auckland striker, is held by Michael Robson of Dunston at Wembley

Dunston UTS: (4-4-2): Connell, Cattenach, Robson, Swailes, Galbraith; Shaw, Dixon, Young, McAndrew; Bulford (Craggs 88 mins), Goddard (Preen 85 mins). Subs not used Clark(gk), Herron, Burns.

West Auckland Town: (4-4-2): Bell, Pattinson, Parker, Stephenson (Hindmarch 77), Green; Banks, Gibson, Hudson, Nicholls (Young 80 mins); Rae, Moffat. Subs not used Hall, Preston, Coad.

  • Thanks to Barry Tray, Stuart Alderson, John Askew, and Dave Kidd for their help this week.