The midfielder Andy Bowes was the most relieved man inside Villa Park yesterday as Whitley Bay clung on for a memorable 1-0 win in the FA Vase final after his second-half penalty miss.
Bowes, the Whitley Bay manager, Andy Gowens, and captain Gary Middleton had all tasted Vase defeat in 1999 in the colours of another North-East outfit, Bedlington Terriers. But three years on from that final loss, all three savoured the glory as Ian Chandler's extra-time goal ensured Bowes' penalty miss did not prove decisive.
In a dull first 90 minutes neither side created many opportunities, with Whitley Bay's Michael Fenwick and Chandler going close when well placed. In the 52nd minute Middleton was tugged down in the box, but a defiant penalty save by Jason Haygreen from the unfortunate Bowes ensured the game went into extra time.
The semi-professional players looked weary in the extra 30 minutes and both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances. As tempers rose and the referee, Andy Kaye, started to brandish yellow cards regularly, Chandler, a 34-year-old accountant, snatched the decisive goal.
Halfway through the first period of extra time, the striker connected with a close-range header to thump the ball home past a stranded Haygreen in the Tiptree goal for his seventh goal in the Vase this season.
The Essex village side poured forward in search of an equaliser, but a resolute and well-marshalled Whitley Bay back four refused to surrender their lead, clinging on for a deserved win.Reuse content