FC Halifax Town were crowned Isuzu FA Trophy champions for the second time in seven years on Sunday, beating Gateshead 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.
Jamie Cooke netted the only goal of the game late in the first half, proving to be the eventual trophy winner for Chris Millington’s side.
The Shaymen came into the game looking to repeat history after picking up the same trophy in 2016 under manager Jim Harvey, when Scott McManus netted the only goal.
Striker Mani Dieseruvwe was deemed ineligible for selection through suspension whilst midfielder Jordan Keane, and defender Festus Arthur, were out through their respective injuries.
Town’s squad did however feature academy players Teddy Lavelle and Frankie Sinfield, with young Charlie English travelling to make up a trio of youngsters around the first team environment on a historic day.
Gateshead won the first corner of the game in the opening exchange. Heed captain Greg Olley opted for a short corner through Adam Campbell, but the Town defence pipped the ball from the striker before a chance was created.
Town then won back-to-back corners after pipping the ball to break, where Harvey Gilmour followed up by opting short for Town’s opening corner which was subsequently dealt with. Gilmour whipped the second, meeting only the gloves of Heed goalkeeper James Montgomery.
Campbell again looked to create the opening for Gateshead in the 26th minute after picking up the ball just outside the area on the right-hand side to drive inwards and hit his effort, resulting in a deflection towards Sam Johnson who collected with ease.
Rob Harker looked to have squandered a golden opportunity just two minutes later, slipping through and beating the Gateshead defender before having a shot stopped by Montgomery, but the linesman had deemed Harker offside following the chance.
A similar move played out again in the 33rd minute after Tylor Golden’s driving run inside allowed Harker to go around on the outside, however Montgomery was quick off his line to meet the through ball.
With Town continuing to seek an opener, Angelo Cappellofound himself inside the area in the 37th minute – swivelling on the ball and sending it towards the back post, where no Town player could connect on a dangerous chance.
Town rightfully earned their opener in the 43rd minute after Jamie Cooke pressed down the Heed defence, who failed to clear the ball after crowding out Millenic Alli’s driving run. Montgomery charged to clear a poor back pass, but Cooke’s pressure saw the ball bounce off him and into the net.
Gateshead looked to get back into the game immediately following the restart when former Town striker Aaron Martin lashed a 49th minute effort wide from the edge of the area.
Following an uneventful 12-minute spell, which involved the substitution of Jesse Debrah through injury, Campbell caught Greg Olley’s cleared free-kick in the 63rd minute on the volley, subsequently clearing the bar.
It soon become an end-to-end affair a minute later when Alli ran the length of the Gateshead half, striking a routine save down the middle of Montgomery’s net.
Montgomery came to Mike Wiliamson’s side rescue again in the 71st minute after Cooke’s free-kick met Jack Hunter’s left-footed volleyed effort, inside the area, which was beaten off the line by the shot-stopper.
In the 80th minute Gateshead worked the ball around Johnson’s area before Conteh applied the finishing touch, a shot which was a comfortable save down to Johnson’s right-hand side.
The Heed continued to apply pressure towards the end of the game, Campbell’s 86th minute half-volley was beaten away by Johnson before the ‘keeper then cleaned up on a loose ball towards the by-line.
The Shaymen comfortably held on through seven minutes of additional time, where Gateshead held majority of the ball but failed to create anything of note, to become 2022/23 Isusu FA Trophy champions.
1 FC Halifax Town, 2 Tylor Golden, 3 Jack Senior, 5 Jesse Debrah (4 Luke Summerfield 63) , 6 Jamie Stott, 14 Jack Hunter, 17 Rob Harker, 18 Angelo Cappello (10 Matt Warburton 72), 19 Jamie Cooke (28 Max Wright 90), 20 Harvey Gilmour, 21 Millenic Alli
Subs not used: 15 Tom Clarke, 28 Max Wright, 29 Fidel O’Rourke, 37 Teddy Lavelle, 39 Frankie Sinfield
31 James Montgomery, 2 Robbie Tinkler, 5 Kenton Richardson (19 Ed Harris 82), 6 Louis Storey, 32 Carl Magnay, 42Kamil Conteh, 12 Daniel Ward, 8 Owen Bailey11 Adam Campebll, 10 Greg Olley, 15 Aaron Martin (39 Olly Thompson 84)
Subs: not used 1 Filip Marschall, 27 Lewis Knight38 Dylan Archer, 40 Ben Franklin45 Mauro Asikaogu
Goals: Cooke 44
Yellow Cards: Capello, Olley, Harris
Red Cards: None
Referee: Darren England
FC Halifax Town 1 Gateshead 0
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