Cleethorpes Town 0
South Shields 4
Finnigan 43 (pen)
Foley 86, 89
SOUTH SHIELDS made it eight Buildbase FA Vase winners from the Northern League in nine years as they comfortably overcame Cleethorpes Town at Wembley.
Carl Finnigan’s penalty minutes before the break was just reward for a dominant first half from South Shields before three goals in the final ten minutes sealed the trophy.
Dillon Morse’s backpost header and David Foley’s late brace proved enough for Shields, following in the footsteps of Morpeth Town, who were winners under the arch last season.
It completes the quadruple for South Shields, having won the league, Northern League Challenge Cup and Durham Challenge Cup this season and this was surely easier than anybody expected.
South Shields, with a large following at the home of football, were the brighter of the two sides early on and had the first real opportunity of the game as Finnigan was played through in the ninth minute but Liam Higton was out quickly to smother well.
And the South Shields fans were up in arms when Liam Davis, the first openly gay footballer to play at Wembley, slid in late on Gavin Cogdon. The referee deemed a yellow card enough punishment.
Cleethorpes finally got a foothold in the game and Brody Robertson’s angled shot seemed to be arrowing in at the far post until Liam Connell got fingertips to the ball with 24 minutes gone. Just three minutes later and Marc Cooper seemed to be played through by Davis but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet.
It was Finnigan that was having the bulk of chances for South Shields and after his original header was blocked in the 35th minute, his follow-up shot also deflected narrowly wide.
South Shields slowly but surely regained a foothold but when Finnigan went down in the box, the referee was unmoved. He wasn’t a minute later though.
This time it was Cogdon charging into the box and Tim Lowe’s rash challenge brought down the striker. Finnigan stepped up to slot home three minutes before the break.
And as the first half moved into stoppage time, the Mariners almost added to their lead. Cogdon’s weaving run saw him let fly from 20 yards but Higton was just about equal to it, superbly pushing the effort on to the bar.
Less than four minutes into the second half and Higton saved Cleethorpes again. Foley roamed forward before striking a piledriver from 25 yards which Higton tipped full stretch onto the bar. And Higton was at it again moments later, getting down well to thwart Cogdon.
Cleethorpes bounced straight back though and Robertson seemed to have a simple chance before Alex Nicholson appeared out of nowhere to block what surely would have been an equaliser.
As legs began to tire on the large Wembley pitch the final became a bit scrappy with neither side were allowed to dominate.
It was Cleethorpes using the width to get in behind but time and time again the crosses were desperately blocked by the first South Shields defender.
But South Shields had the next big chance, Cogdon with plenty of time to find his spot but he powered straight at Higton in the 79th minute.
The keeper was powerless a minute later though as substitute Robert Briggs’ free-kick found Morse who powered his header home in front of the 13,000 South Shields supporters.
And the Mariners made it safe with just four minutes left on the clock as Michael Richardson played through Foley who finished comfortably when one-on-one.
And Foley put the icing well and truly on the cake as he picked up Darren Lough’s pass to fire home with just moments of the 90 minutes remaining.
Clee / S Shields
Shots on: 2/11
Shots off: 1/3
Cleethorpes: Higton, Lowe, Winn, Dickens, Bloomer, Coleman (Mascall 70), Davis (Richardson 73), Flett, Cooper (Taylor 61), Robertson, Oglesby. Subs not used: King, Wressell
South Shields: Connell, Nicholson, Lough, Shaw, Morse, Arca, Stephenson (Briggs 56), Phillips (Smith 83), Cogdon, Finnigan (Richardson 70), Foley. Subs not used: Storey, Holden
Referee: Darren England
Star man: David Foley (South Shields)