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Thatcham Complete A Remarkable Season

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Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division club Thatcham Town grabbed a single goal victory in Sunday`s Buildbase FA Vase Final at Wemblet against Ebac Northern League First Division side Stockton Town.

The Berkshire outfit have enjoyed a remarkable 2017/18 season, winning the Hellenic League title by embarking on an amazing forty-match unbeaten run, and added the icing on the cake by lifting the Vase under the arch.

The north-east side have also done remarkably well in the past two or three years and have only been in the First Division for one season.

But although the prolific Shane Cooper-Clark`s penalty will be remembered as the winner, in defender Baboucarr Jarra they had arguably the game`s outstanding player.

Stockton almost took the lead early on when Fred Woodhouse hooked a shot over keeper Chris Rackley, but Jarra bravely headed clear.

Thatcham took the lead after 24 minutes when Jordan Brown waltzed past through two tackles but was brought down in the area by James Ward.

Cooper-Clark stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and, despite Stockton `keeper Michael Arthur getting a hand to it, his effort just had enough power for him to record his 62nd goal of an unbelievable season for him personally.

Cooper-Clark almost made it 63 goals in first half injury-time, but his volley was well saved by Arthur.

The second half saw the heat begin to take its toll on the Step 5 players, with Thatcham almost doubling their lead on 62 minutes through Gavin James, but Arthur was once again in the right place at the right time.

James hit the underside of the crossbar as Thatcham looked to put the game to bed.

However, Stockton almost forced extra-time but Fred Woodhouse`s shot was once again blocked heroically by Jarra.

Stockton finished the stronger as they looked desperately for an equaliser, with Dale Mulligan and Jamie Owens going close.

But with seconds left on the clock, and keeper Arthur up for a corner, Thatcham broke and almost doubled their lead through sub Ross Cook, only for a terrific late intervention by Matt Garbutt.

But in the end, Thatcham just about shaded it and added the Vase to a remarkable 2017/18 campaign.

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