The Isuzu FA Vase

Winning Vase is better than beating Man Utd, says Fenton

Saturday 09 May 2015
Robins boss Graham Fenton is held aloft by his players

North Shields boss Graham Fenton says his team's FA Vase triumph at Wembley Stadium was better than beating Manchester United.

Fenton was in the Aston Villa side that won the League Cup in 1994 after victory over United, and he has now followed that up with another Wembley success as a manager.

And the Northern League side had to do it the hard way, coming from a goal behind after Glossop North End took the lead early in the second half.

Glossop North End 1-2 North Shields

after extra-time
The FA Vase Final 2015
Saturday 9 May
Wembley Stadium connected by EE

"It's hugely satisfying - it's been a big build-up, it's been busy with work and sorting stuff out, but it's all been worthwhile," said Fenton when he spoke to at full-time.

"I know a lot of the boys in the north-east who have lifted the Vase here and we're just glad to be taking it home. 

"It's something we are hugely proud of in the Northern League, and we're glad to be able to represent the north-east so well."

The former midfielder added: "I was hugely proud to play in the old Wembley, but this is different - this is a magnificent stadium, it's got to be one of the best in the world, something the country should be hugely proud of.

"The experience I had here with Villa, winning the League Cup, was good - but this has topped it."

Gareth Bainbridge scores

Gareth Bainbridge drew North Shields level

With the game goalless at half-time, Fenton said he was disappointed when his team came in at the break and gave them some words of encouragement.

"We were poor in the first-half," he admitted. "I don't know if it was the occasion, but we didn't play any of our normal passing football. We didn't turn them round, we didn't stretch the pitch, we didn't open gaps up. 

"When we got organised at half-time we said to the lads 'you've got to trust yourselves. When you play in this stadium there is no room for people to hide'.

"We got sorted, we got our two play-makers in midfield on the ball a little bit more, Ben Richardson and Michael McKeown, to fire our forwards higher up and get at them."

However, despite both his central midfielders coming close to scoring, they found themselves a goal down ten minutes after the break when Tom Bailey netted for Glossop.

Bainbridge and Forster

Bainbridge and Forster with the Vase

Having already bagged 16 goals on the road to Wembley, Robins top-scorer Gareth Bainbridge levelled the game with ten minutes left.

Then in extra time an unlikely hero, substitute Adam Forster, popped up to tuck home the winner.

"Fozzy is not know for his finishing - he's a great footballer, he's all-energy, technically brilliant and sometimes you just want to tell him to pass the ball into the net," said Fenton.

"Today he has done that - his first one went into row-z and that's his normal finishing - but when he actually scored we couldn't believe it."

He added: "But in the end I can't ask anymore from them, they're on their last legs at the end. They are a great bunch of people and this team never gives up.

"You know you're going to get chances, you know they'll keep going. I'm just hugely proud of them - they've been nothing short of magnificent."

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor At Wembley Stadium