After being drawn at home in every round of this season's tournament, Brigg Town proved that they can win away from familiar surroundings by capturing the FA Vase in London's East End yesterday. Goals from Steve Housham and Steve Carter, either side of an equaliser from Terry Rayner, condemned much-fancied AFC Sudbury to an unexpected defeat.
The Vase final, like its senior non-League counterpart the FA Trophy final, may have lost some of its lustre since the demise of Wembley Stadium, but there were still a few thousand yellow and blue clad fans down from Suffolk to cheer on Sudbury.
There were fewer from the little Lincolnshire town of Brigg, but that was not a surprise considering the rival local attraction: the Third Division play-off derby between Scunthorpe United and Lincoln City.
Sudbury's formidable record in the Jewson Eastern League, which they have just won for the third successive year, had helped make them the pre-match favourites, but their rivals from the Northern Counties East League had tasted triumph in the Vase before, winning at Wembley in 1996 under Ralph Clayton, their manager then and now.
It was Brigg who settled quicker, and they took the lead inside two minutes. A patient build-up down the right was concluded by a cross from Roy Raspin which was cleared to Housham, lurking with intent 25 yards out.
Housham, a former Scunthorpe professional, was making his debut in the Vase for Brigg, having spent most of the season playing UniBond League football for Barrow. He wasted no time in making his mark, thrashing a superb shot high into the corner of Dean Greygoose's net.
Craig Stones turned well to shoot just wide with his left foot soon after, but gradually Sudbury fought their way back into the game and Rayner should have equalised but miskicked after 26 minutes. The shaggy-haired winger made amends two minutes later, when Gary Bennett's blocked shot led to a scramble which was resolved when Rayner found space to hook a shot through the crowd and into the net.
After a fine end-to-end first half the pace slackened in the second but the crowd were brought to life in the 67th minute when Brigg regained the lead with a freak goal.
There seemed little danger when Brigg were awarded a free-kick out on the right wing, but Carter's well-struck delivery eluded everyone and found the far top corner.
Damien Steer saved well from Bennett to prevent a prompt equaliser and the Brigg goalkeeper was his side's saviour when he just kept out Lee Owen's 90th-minute long-range drive.
AFC Sudbury 1
Brigg Town 2
Housham 2, Carter 70
Half-time: 1-1 Attendance: 6,634Reuse content