Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Better Than 2012, but Still Despair for West at Wembley

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Better Than 2012, but Still Despair for West at Wembley

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Brown at Wembley

WEST AUCKLAND TOWN 0 SHOLING 1 ND so it was not to be. Again.

ATwo years after West Auckland Town, overwhelmed by Wembley and Andrew Bulford, underperformed in the FA Vase final, history went some way to repeating itself on Saturday.

Some way. The Ebac Northern League club were significantly better than they had been in 2012.

Their victors this time, Wessex Premier champions Sholing, from Southampton, are a good team. On the biggest stage, they looked composed, kept the ball, did not do too much with it and enjoyed enormous good fortune for Marvin McLean's 71st-minute winner - the ball taking a decisive deflection off Lewis Galpin - and had, in goalkeeper Matt Brown, the man of the match.

He kept out efforts from John Campbell, Matthew Moffat and Dennis Knight, and saw Jonathan Gibson head against his metalwork.

Yet therein lies the story. History.

Two years ago and by manager Peter Dixon's own admission, West failed to turn up. On Saturday they were better, the better side, he thought.

But more observers than this one took issue with his insistence that his players could not have imposed on the event more of their undoubted talent, could not influence its outcome with a more authoritative and dominant hand on the tiller. Brown's save from Knight's free kick was outstanding. From Campbell, only what you'd expect.

Moffat? Having started despite suffering a facial injury in the semi-final second-leg at St Andrews - he played in 2012, within himself - wearing a protective mask after fracturing the opposite cheekbone - he fluffed his one genuine chance, skying over.

So as cruel as it may sound for such a fine club suffering once again (they also lost the FA Amateur Cup Final, to Walthamstow Avenue, in 1961), they had no one to blame but themselves.

And to be fair to Dixon, the most open and frank of men, nor did he try to, fronting up when others might have dodged the post-match press conference and offering apologies and, something on which you can count, determination to bounce back. …

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