Spennymoor Town v Tunbridge Wells
The FA Carlsberg Vase Final
3pm, Saturday 4 May 2013
Jason Ainsley is targeting a dream end to the season by lifting The FA Carlsberg Vase with Spennymoor Town.
The manager of the Northern League outfit has been involved with the club for a number of years, firstly as a player and then a coach and he will lead them out at Wembley Stadium on Saturday in the biggest match in non-League football – The FA Vase Final.
Like their opponents, Tunbridge Wells, Spennymoor will be appearing at this stage of the competition for the first time and Ainsley’s long association with ‘The Moor’ suggests it will be an extra special occasion for him.
He said: “I've been involved with this club for a long, long time as player, manager, coach and caretaker manager, so it will be a real privilege and honour to lead them out at Wembley.
“We've done well in the league and local cups, but everyone keeps asking, ‘why haven't you done well in The FA Vase?’. It's like the holy grail of non-League football, and you start to believe that you're never going to get to The Final. But we've had a great run this year and deserve to be where we are.
“We’re ready to take on a very good outfit in Tunbridge Wells, who have already beaten the holders, Dunston UTS, and then another Northern League side, Shildon, in the Semis. So a lot of credit must go to their manager Martin Larkin, he’s clearly doing a great job down in Kent.”
Spennymoor’s journey to Wembley - all 1,351 miles - has brought about ties against Bridlington Town, Newcastle Benfield, Billingham Synthonia, Lordswood, Bemerton Heath Harlequins, Gornal Athletic and a 900-mile round trip to Guernsey for the Semi-Final.
Ainsley says that run will mean very little if they do not beat Tunbridge Wells, but he can still look back on his side’s run with great pride.
He added: “It was by no means an easy run for us and from day one when we were drawn away at Bridington Town we thought 'oh, here we go again'. But we beat them 5-1, played some really good football and from then on we really had belief that we were going to do well this year.
“One of my highlights was our Semi-Final against Guernsey. It was an unbelievable experience.
“We had to charter a flight from Newcastle and there was speculation the game wasn't going to go ahead because of the weather.
“We played front of 4,500, the whole island seemed to be out watching the game. But we showed them what a good side we are by winning 3-1 at their place and 1-0 back at home a week later.
“It was a massive win over two legs, but it won't mean anything if we don't lift The Vase.”
Ticket Prices: £15 Adults, £5 Children under-16
Tickets on sale: Tuesday 2 April from 2pm
Hotline: 0844 980 0656