Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stockton Put on Spot to End Dream of Vase Win; FA VASE FINAL: Stockton Town 0 Thatcham 1

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stockton Put on Spot to End Dream of Vase Win; FA VASE FINAL: Stockton Town 0 Thatcham 1

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK CARRUTHERS

OMETIMES fairytales don't come true.

SThat was certainly the case at Wembley as Stockton Town's remarkable run to the FA Vase Final ended in a 1-0 defeat to Thatcham Town.

The Anchors - a Wearside League club less than two years ago - fell to defeat after Shane Cooper-Clark's first-half penalty helped the Hellenic League champions become the first non-Northern League side to win the Vase since Sholing in 2014.

Wembley buzzed with expectancy as the two sides walked out on a baking-hot day in North London and it was the Anchors who settled the quicker of the two sides.

However, there were always signs their opponents had plenty to offer and they had the first chance of the game on 11 minutes.

Lively winger Ekow Elliott was a constant thorn in the side of the Stockton defenders and he cut inside from his left-wing position before firing wide of the near post.

Stockton hit back on 20 minutes and should have taken the lead as Fred Woodhouse looped the ball over Thatcham keeper Chris Rackley and only the alert defending of Baboucarr Jarra prevented Chris Stockton from heading the ball into the empty net.

Two minutes later came the moment that would decide the match.

James Ward was punished for a foul on Jordan Brown and Shane Cooper-Clark made no mistake from the spot, despite Anchors keeper Michael Arthur getting a strong hand on the ball.

Things could have got worse for Michael Dunwell's side as the game eased towards half-time when Arthur denied Cooper-Clark and Gavin James in quick succession.

A reaction was needed after the break and whatever Dunwell said in the dressing room one came from his side.

Fred Woodhouse released Chris Stockton into the left-hand side of the area and his shot beat keeper Rackley but was blocked by Jarra. The Anchors were clearly re-energised by that chance and belief seemed to spread throughout the side. …

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