Captain fantastic Josh Falkingham fired Harrogate Town to their maiden Buildbase FA Trophy triumph in an entertaining 2019-20 Final against sixth-tier Concord Rangers at Wembley.
Simon Weaver’s League Two side always looked the more likely and despite encountering some stubborn Concord resistance, Falkingham struck late to steer the Sulphurites to victory.
Harrogate, fresh off the back of a thrilling 5-4 victory over Cambridge United on Friday, created a string of opportunities during the first half as Jon Stead and Jack Muldoon were denied by excelled Concord goalkeeper Chris Haigh.
They continued to bang on the Rangers door throughout the second period and after the influential Muldoon struck a Wembley post, Falkingham was on hand to coolly sweep home and propel Harrogate to glory.
Danny Scopes’ National League South side had not played a match since February but were involved in a high-tempo contest throughout the opening exchanges.
And it was Harrogate – who celebrated promotion from the National League last season – who created the first real opportunities of note, with Concord keeper Haigh twice being called into early action.
The Yorkshire side had started the game the brighter but Lamar Reynolds went closest for Concord early on when he saw his shot blocked.
Harrogate were the side bossing possession for the bulk of the first half but spirited Concord, who are based in Canvey Island, continued to defend resolutely under the Wembley Arch.
Veteran striker Stead shot narrowly wide before Haigh was in the thick of the action once again as he thwarted Muldoon.
And Haigh was at it once more just before the break as his fine save denied an evergreen Stead, 38, the opening goal of the contest and meant the sides went into the interval level.
Harrogate continued to pile on the pressure at the start of the second period as a string of set-pieces caused the Essex side problems.
But it was Scopes’ team who should've really taken the lead just before the hour mark as Jack Cawley missed a golden opportunity.
The ball fell to Cawley from a corner but he was unable to keep his close-range effort down as Harrogate, who remained the dominant side, were given a major reprieve.
Harrogate boss Weaver threw on striker Mark Beck on the hour mark and it almost proved a masterstroke just moments after his introduction.
The Sulphurites’ No.9 got on the end of Falkingham’s cross but was unable to divert his effort towards goal.
Harrogate were hammering on the Concord door and Haigh – again – was required to keep them out just after as his fine save denied George Thomson a memorable Wembley goal.
Rangers were on the ropes but continued to keep Harrogate out as substitute Brendan Kiernan, who hit a hat-trick against Cambridge on Friday, sent his header wide.
The League Two side did eventually break the deadlock with just under 15 minutes remaining, however, when that man Falkingham proved the late Wembley hero.
Strong work from Muldoon resulted in his low strike coming back off the woodwork and Falkingham, 30, was there to slot home and trigger jubilant scenes in the capital.
Concord rallied for an equaliser and Muldoon shot straight at Haigh but Harrogate held on for their maiden FA Trophy triumph.
Concord Rangers: 1 Chris Haigh, 5 Aron Pollock, 4 Billy Roast, 16 Tyrone Sterling, 6 Jack Cawley, 3 Joe Payne, 7 James Blanchfield, 8 Sam Blackman, 10 Lewis Simper, 17 Lamar Reynolds, 11 Ryan Charles
Substitutes: 19 Temi Babalola for Charles 59’, 9 Alex Wall for Blanchfield 79’, 14 Odei Martin for Roast 83’
Substitutes not used: 2 Archie McFadden, 13 Dan Wilks, 15 Ben Search, 18 Alex Hernandez
Harrogate Town: 13 Joe Cracknell, 6 Warren Burrell, 5 Will Smith, 20 Connor Hall, 3 Dan Jones, 7 George Thomson, 17 Lloyd Kerry, 4 Josh Falkingham (c), 28 Josh McPake, 18 Jack Muldoon, 16 Jon Stead
Substitutes: 9 Mark Beck for Stead 61’, 2 Ryan Fallowfield for Jones 62’, 14 Brendan Kiernan for McPake 67’
Substitutes not used: 1 James Belshaw, 22 Edward Francis, 26 Kevin Lokko, 27 Jay Williams
Goals: Falkingham 76’
Referee: Peter Bankes