Football / FA Trophy Final: Steele has edge for Woking

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Runcorn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Shaw pen 75

Woking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

D Brown 19, Hay 29

Attendance: 15,818

THE ENGLISH elite reclaim Wembley today but the part-timers, in temporary residence yesterday for the FA Trophy final, produced a match worthy of the Venue of Legends.

Banners and balloons in the royal box, a spirit of goodwill to all fans on the terraces, the occasion deserved an enthralling game - and duly received it. Playing conditions were unfavourable following a series of downpours which made defending and fancy footwork a lottery, but no matter, the GM Vauxhall Conference rivals stuck to their passing games throughout, Woking eventually prevailing due to the they-shalt- not-pass commitment of their defenders. Poor Runcorn enjoyed more possession but failed for the second successive year. Their time will come.

The Cards took 20 minutes to play in their ace, Scott Steele. Operating in the hole, Steele's moves were difficult to detect and soon proved devastating. The 22-year-old who lodges with manager Geoff Chapple delighted his landlord by escaping down the inside-left channel. Steele judged his cutback beautifully for Dereck Brown to slide in Woking's firstby the Runcorn keeper's right-hand upright.

Brown, a veteran of Woking's 1991 FA Cup heroics at West Brom, celebrated with a lengthy head-first slide across the sodden turf.

Poacher turned goal-maker 10 minutes later when Woking effectively settled the final. Clive Walker delivered a perfect reverse pass towards Steele on the left. The most popular lodger in Surrey cut the ball back again to Brown, whose cross-shot was diverted in by Darran Hay. 'We played in spasms,' Chapple said, 'but got the goals when it counted.'

Runcorn would not lie down. Paul Robertson shook Woking's bar from 25 yards before a 75th-minute penalty set up a frantic finale. Gwynne Berry, the Kingfield defender, was adjudged to have handled; Nigel Shaw confidently converted the penalty.

Chapple thought the decision unjust but nothing could spoil the Cards' party. Speaking outside a Woking dressing- room which would have received short shrift from the Noise Abatement Society, Chapple added: 'This is better than the FA Cup run. We are here at the Mecca. We're not going to do that in the FA Cup. Not for a few years anyway.'

The night of merriment had begun.

Runcorn (4-3-3): Williams; Bates, Lee, Brabin, Robertson; Shaw, Anderson, Connor; McKenna, McInerney (Hill, 72), Thomas. Sub not used: Parker.

Woking (4-4-2): Batty; Berry, K Brown, Tucker, Wye; Clement, D Brown (Rattray, 32), S Steele, Fielder; Hay (Puckett, h-t), Walker.

Referee: P Durkin (Portland).