South Shields completed an incredible quadruple as the North East ruled at Wembley in the FA Vase yet again.
The area is untouchable and this competition is their own it seems but they had to wait for their 4-0 victory but the Northern League have another name inscribed on Vase silver.
Only towards the end did they seal the silverware and finally broke Cleethorpe’s resolve with three late strikes.
With over 250 league goals scored by these two sides combined, goals were predicted but it is a penalty kick separating the two sides at half time.
South Shields did the early running with their fans in fine voice. Andrew Stephenson’s flick on was touched by Owls defender Liam Dickens but Carl Finnigan couldn’t quite connect. Those fans who travelled from the north east thought it was in.
Cleethorpes were hanging on for dear life! Finnigan was denied by a wonderful save from keeper Liam Higton, Town’s number 1 smothered it as the Shields forward raced clear in the 8th minute.
The first half wasn’t all one way traffic. Brody Robertson skipped clear of Jon Shaw. He had patience and drew a fine low right-handed save from Liam Connell, their first real chance of the match.
Before long Finnigan, at the second attempt, stuck Liam Dickens – the striker said handball, the referee, however, did not/ Darren England well placed to say no to his handball request.
Shields were on top, They corned 8 first half corners and looked dangerous and when Finnigan hit the deck on 40 minutes in the box he was again asking questions of the official.
It was to be third time lucky, though. Owls’ Tim Lowe clumsy as the excellent Gavin Cogdon ran at him and over the forward went.
Finnigan not involved this time, but was when it mattered and he had great composure from the penalty spot to make it 1-0.
Shields started the second half very much like they did the first. Graham Fenton and Lee Picton demanding more of the same, and David Foley so nearly produced.
He went on and on and was denied from 25 yards by a fine save from Higton, who pushed the shot onto the crossbar. The keeper denied Cogdon two minutes later, what a game they were both having.
But Cleethorpes were still in this. Robertson took too long with his close range shot and that allowed Alex Nicholson a vital half a second to come across and put his leg in the way.
Connell, the Shields keeper, almost had a nightmare as he dropped a deep corner – thankfully for him no Town player was in the immediate area.
The Northern League club nearly doubled their lead but sub Rob Briggs was kept at bay by Peter Winn’s last-ditch piece of defending.
Shields were looking for the perfect goal it seemed, missing chances. Cogdon again was denied by Owls keeper Higton, he should have done higher and had time on his side.
But the finally did get the killer second, to the joy of over 13,000 of their fans. Dillon Morse headed in Briggs’ deep free kick and although the keeper got something on it, there was no keeping it out.
The celebrations in front of the club’s fans said it all. Job done! They added some gloss through Foley four minutes from time when he escaped the offside trap to tuck away Michael Richardson’s quality pass.
Foley made it four with 90 minutes approaching, it looked like a masterclass but they had to be patient.
They were goods value for it – the Vase goes from London to the north east yet again.