Jamie Cooke was the match-winner as FC Halifax Town defeated Gateshead 1-0 in a tight Isuzu FA Trophy final at Wembley.
Cooke charged down Heed goalkeeper Jamie Montgomery’s clearance in the closing stages of the first half, the ball rebounding into the net for what proved to be the decisive goal in a match of few clear-cut opportunities.
Adam Campbell came closest to finding an equaliser after the break for an injury-ravaged Gateshead side who battled hard but the Shaymen held on to win the competition for the second time in seven years.
Chances were at a premium in the opening stages as both sides settled into the contest, with Gateshead first to get in behind only for Campbell to be denied by an expertly-timed Jack Senior challenge.
Montgomery was soon called into action to deny Rob Harker, with the flag raised in any case, while the goalkeeper sprung sharply off his line to beat the frontman to a neat through ball shortly afterwards.
Owen Bailey mis-timed a leap to send a presentable free header looping on to the roof of the net when he was first to a second ball from a Gateshead corner on 34 minutes but Halifax were dominating possession and soon created the opportunities to match.
A short corner routine led to Harvey Gilmour’s long-range effort being well blocked but Halifax had to wait just two more minutes to go in front.
After Millenic Alli was dispossessed on the edge of the box, an underhit back pass from Louis Storey alerted Cooke, who charged down Montgomery’s clearance and looked up to see the ball nestling in the back of the net.
Gateshead started on top after the break but were unable to find a way through, Adam Campbell curling a shot wide from 20 yards and volleying over from a similar distance either side of Bailey heading a corner wide.
Alli went close at the other end, cutting inside and firing an effort which was comfortably dealt with by Montgomery.
Cooke, meanwhile, was playing with plenty of confidence after his first-half goal and a nutmeg on Greg Olley led to a foul which saw the Heed skipper cautioned.
From the resulting free-kick, Hunter’s snapshot at the back post was beaten away by Montgomery to keep the lead at one.
Montgomery’s opposite number Sam Johnson was belatedly called into action approaching the final 10 minutes, keeping out tame efforts from Campbell and Kamil Conteh as Gateshead threatened a late surge.
Johnson then had to be alert to keep out Campbell’s well struck half volley and the Tyneside outfit then saw a late penalty appeal waved away, with substitute Will Harris booked for simulation.
The Shaymen successfully saw out seven minutes of added time as they made it a memorable afternoon for the strong travelling contingent from West Yorkshire.
FC Halifax Town: 1 Sam Johnson, 2 Tyler Golden, 5 Jesse Debrah, 6 Jamie Stott, 3 Jack Senior (captain), 14 Jack Hunter, 20 Harvey Gilmour, 19 Jamie Cooke, 21 Millenic Alli, 17 Rob Harker, 18 Angelo Capello
Substitutes: 4 Luke Summerfield (for Debrah, 62’), 10 Matt Warburton (for Capello, 73’), 28 Max Wright (for Cooke, 90’)
Substitutes not used: Ted Lavelle, Frankie Sinfield, 10 Matt Warburton, 29 Fidel O’Rourke, 15 Tom Clarke
Gateshead: 31 James Montgomery, 2 Robbie Tinkler, 5 Kenton Richardson, 6 Louis Storey, 32 Carl Magnay, 8 Owen Bailey, 42 Kamil Conteh, 10 Greg Olley (captain), 11 Adam Campbell, 12 Dan Ward, 15 Aaron Martin
Substitutes: 19 Will Harris (for Richardson, 83’), 39 Oli Thompson (for Martin, 84’)
Substitutes not used: 1 Filip Marschall, 45 Mauro Asikaogu, 38 Dylan Archer, 40 Ben Franklin, 27 Lewis Knight