The FA Carlsberg Vase Final
4 May 2013 - 3:00 PM
Spennymoor Town 2-1 Tunbridge Wells
A late match-winning strike from Keith Graydon clinched victory for Spennymoor Town in The FA Carlsberg Vase Final.
Graydon's pile-driver, following Gavin Cogdon's first-half header, ensured a 2-1 win over Tunbridge Wells and sent The Vase back to the north-east for the fifth year in succession.
Jason Ainsley's side follow in the footsteps of fellow Northern League sides Whitley Bay - Vase champions in 2009, 2010 and 2011 - and last year's victors Dunston UTS and get their hands on the prestigious prize at Wembley Stadium.
There was a scare with 12 minutes left when Josh Stanford briefly levelled for the Kent League side after Cogdon's earlier opener, but Graydon restored the advantage swiftly to seal the win in front of nearly 17,000 fans from Durham and Kent.
It was highest attendance in a Vase Final for five years but it was the Northern supporters who went home the happiest.
However, Tunbridge Wells had the first real chance when Stanford collected the ball inside the Spennymoor half with six minutes played and burst forward.
As the defence opened up, he reached the area before firing goalwards, but Robert Dean beat the ball away to safety.
That was their only sight during the first half as Spennymoor offered the more attacking threat and it was no major surprise when they took the lead on 18 minutes.
A delightful cross clipped in from the right by man-of-the-match Graydon found Cogdon 15 yards from goal. The forward applied the perfect header, looping beyond the dive of Chris Oladogba, before peeling away in front of the Tunbridge fans. His celebration hand-stand underlining his delight.
While the Wells stopper, Oladogba, could do little about the goal, though, he made an important contribution keeping the score down. He snuffed out another chance for Cogdon as he raced clear into the box and then pushed a goal-bound effort from Mark Davison around the post for a corner.
Tunbridge defender Lewis Mingle was then left counting his lucky stars on the half hour when he connected with Wayne Phillips' deep cross at the far post and rattled the frame of his own goal.
After the break, Tunbridge went on the offensive and almost capitalised on a dropped catch by Dean, but the stopper smothered before a Wells man could react.
Dean did better moments later when Perry Spackman hooked the ball in from the bye-line as it was about to go out and directed goalwards.
The 'keeper played it safe as it looked to be sneaking under the bar and turned over. From the resulting corner, Spackman - Wells' Semi-Final hero - connected with a powerful header, but it went wide.
The lively goalscorer Cogdon continued to trouble the Wells back-line as he searched for a second and two more chances came his way.
First, a neat swivel and shot inside the box was good, but Oladogba saved well, then he latched onto a loose ball six yards out, but was denied by Mingle's block.
Davison also had another chance, heading wide from Graydon's cross, then the midfielder had a go himself - a free-kick inside the area following a back pass - but it was always going high and wide.
Then, with 12 minutes left, a Tunbridge Wells cross from the right wing was clawed away by Dean, but only as far as Stanford who returned with a first-time volley from 12 yards into the unguarded net.
The Kent fans went wild, and all of a sudden believed their side could go away from Wembley with the spoils.
But Graydon was having none of it. And when Lewis Dodds' run into the area three minutes later was heading into a dead-end, a lay-off found the Irishman, unmarked inside the area.
He made no mistake, smashing home the winner to seal Vase victory for Spennymoor Town and a bottle of champagne for himself.