The veteran central defender and local publican Chris Brindley hit an emotional winner as Hednesford Town produced an FA Trophy final shock on the greatest day in the 124-year history of the Dr Marten's League club.
The 34-year-old former Wolverhampton Wanderers player, who these days runs the Cross Keys pub a quarter of a mile from The Pitmen's Keys Park stadium, had earlier given Canvey a 2-1 advantage with a 48th-minute own goal.
Three minutes from time Brindley, who is also the club's assistant manager, volleyed home the clinching goal to give the Trophy its second underdog winners in successive seasons.
Last year the Unibond League side Burscough beat Conference-bound Tamworth, but Hednesford's victory was perhaps even more of a surprise. Canvey went into the game having convincingly won promotion to the Conference from the Ryman League while Hednesford had effectively been relegated, finishing third from bottom of the Dr Marten's League and thus failing to qualify for the newly formed Northern Conference next season.
Yet their Villa Park triumph was well earned, based on good organisation, hard running and 90 minutes of outstanding effort. They were on the back foot in the early stages, the Canvey captain, Neil Gregory, missing a simple opening and then the striker Lee Boylan having a 20-yard free-kick well saved by the goalkeeper Ryan Young. But The Pitmen took the lead in the 27th minute, when the Hednesford-born midfielder Anthony Maguire scored from 10 yards.
The game turned dramatically immediately after the interval, the prodigious Boylan heading his 57th goal of the season within 50 seconds of the restart then Brindley turning a Boylan shot into his own net two minutes later.
However, the Hednesford left-back Les Hines, who began his career as an Aston Villa trainee, equalised with a brilliantly curled 53rd-minute free-kick.
Both sides had chances for further goals but it was Brindley, who is in his third spell at the club where he started his career, who had the last word. He had previously been a Trophy winner with Telford and a runner-up with Kidderminster Harriers.
Canvey Island (3-5-2): Potter; Ward, Cowan, Chenery; Midgeley (Berquez, 74), Kennedy, Minton, Gooden (Dobinson, 90), Duffy; Boylan, Gregory (McDougald, 80). Substitutes not used: Theobald, Harrison.
Hednesford Town (4-4-2): Young; Simkin, Brindley, Ryder (Barrow, 60), Hines; Maguire, Palmer, King, Charie (S Evans, 55); Danks (Piearce, 79), Anthrobus. Substitutes not used: P Evans, McGhee.
Referee: M Dean (Wirral).
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