Chertsey Town lifted the Buildbase FA Vase at Wembley, after a 3-1 extra-time victory over Cray Valley (PM).
The two teams, who both won their respective leagues this season, couldn’t be separated after 90 minutes following a tight, competitive and entertaining encounter in which Cray took a first-half lead before the Curfews bounced back.
The And it was joy for Chertsey boss Dave Anderson, having come out of retirement to take the job on this season, as two goals in extra time from Jake Baxter and the impressive Quincy Rowe were enough to take the Vase to the Surrey club for the first time.
In truth, there was little to pick between the two teams throughout and it was a tight opening to the game, although Cray Valley keeper Andy Walker had to make a full-stretch save to deny Lubo Guentchev’s curling free-kick on the half-hour mark.
It sprung into life shortly after that, when Mason Welch-Turner’s searching pass into the left-hand channel was picked up by Gavin Tomlin. The Cray striker shrugged off the challenge of Sam Flegg before planting a low shot past Nick Jupp at his near post.
Chertsey weren’t behind for long though, drawing level less than three minutes later with Flegg smashing home from close range after his header from Guentchev’s corner had bounced back off the post.
It was proving just as close a contest after the break, with the teams seemingly cancelling each other out with defences on top and restricting chances to a minimum.
With the game in stoppage time and extra time minutes away, Chertsey had the chance to win it as Guentchev scampered into the box from the left before picking out Michael Peacock unmarked in the box. Unfortunately for the Curfews, the central defender mis-hit his shot well off target.
And it was then Cray’s turn to almost nick victory, as Anthony Edgar’s left-footer cannoned back off the crossbar with what was the last kick of the 90 minutes. And that will no doubt be the moment the men from Kent will look back on as they make the journey back across London.
Chertsey edged ahead for the first time at the end of the first half of extra time, when Guentchev was felled by a committed Cem Tumkaya tackle right on the line of the area.
The referee awarded a penalty, although Cray were convinced the foul was actually outside the area and even the television replays were inconclusive.
Baxter didn’t let that put him off though, as his spot-kick was duly despatched into the bottom corner.
With Cray in search of an equaliser, that left more space for Chertsey to exploit and that’s exactly what they did. With just three minutes remaining, Rowe forayed forward and traded passes with Guentchev before curling a magnificent shot past Andy Walker and into the bottom corner to spark the celebrations.
Chertsey Town: 1 Nick Jupp, 3 Mason Welch-Turner, 4 Kevin Maclaren (c), 5 Michael Peacock, 6 Quincy Rowe, 7 Lubomir Guentchev, 9 Jake Baxter, 10 Sam Murphy, 11 Dale Binns, 14 Lewis Driver, 18 Sam Flegg
Substitutes: 8 Dave Taylor for Maclaren 79, 17 Andy Crossley for Driver 83, 2 Lewis Jackson for Binns 97, 12 John Pomroy for Baxter 118
Substitutes not used: 13 Lewis Gallifent, , 15 Michael Kinsella, 16 Danny Bennell
Manager: Dave Anderson
Goals: Sam Flegg 39, Jake Baxter 105 P, Quincy Rowe 117
Cray Valley (PM): 1 Andy Walker (c), 3 Danny Smith, 4 Liam Hickey, 5 Ashley Sains, 6 Cem Tumkaya, 7 Anthony Edgar, 8 Paul Semakula, 9 Gavin Tomlin, 10 Kevin Lisbie, 11 Ryan Flack, 23 Denzel Gayle
Substitutes: 18 Josh James for Flack 72, 27 Francis Babalola for Lisbie 100, 2 Brad Potter for Tumkaya 106, 33 Calum Willock for Sains 111
Substitutes not used: 21 Deren Ibrahim, 12 Tyler Myers, 29 Lea Dawson
Manager: Kevin Watson
Goals: Gavin Tomlin 36
Referee: Ross Joyce
Assistant referees: Rob Smith & Matthew Lee
Fourth official: Thomas Bramall