Shaymen beat Gateshead at Wembley to regain FA Trophy

Jamie Cooke's goal saw FC Halifax Town win the FA Trophy for the second time as they beat Gateshead 1-0 at Wembley.
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It wasn't a classic but The Shaymen produced a hard-working, committed, gritty display to win the trophy they got their hands on back in 2016.

What way for the season to end. This mad, barmy season, with so many ups and downs, so many highs and lows, ends with the highest high, the uppest up.

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Gateshead saw more of the ball early on but Town prevented them doing anything of note by being well-organised and disciplined out of possession.

FC Halifax Town v Gateshead, FA Trophy Final at Wembley StadiumFC Halifax Town v Gateshead, FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium
FC Halifax Town v Gateshead, FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium

The Heed were worked hard off the ball too though, with both teams starting better without the ball than with it.

The tempo of the game was down to walking pace at times, the first 20 minutes passing by without a shot.

Both teams seemed a little wary, a little cautious, a little risk averse.

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It felt a bit like a frame of snooker that required a re-rack, with neither team really getting anywhere, just cancelling the other out.

Wembley StadiumWembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium

Cagier than a film called The Cage starring Nicolas Cage.

There were a couple of nearly-but-not-quite moments for Town, with Rob Harker seeing a shot saved one-on-one when he was offside and then nearly being played in after a good run by Tylor Golden.

Owen Bailey headed off target for Gateshead at a corner, with ex-Town man Aaron Martin also heading harmlessly wide.

Seeing chances was like finding needles in haystacks.

Harvey Gilmour was being pressed well by Gateshead, not being allowed to dictate things. Milli Alli was also being closed down effectively.

All in all, The Shaymen were being nullified pretty well.

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But the same was true of Gateshead, who were unable to make any real headway into Town territory.

The game appeared to be trudging towards half-time until a poor back-pass to James Montgomery by Louis Storey gave a sniff of a chance to Cooke, who closed down in typically bustling, aggressive style and blocked the clearance, sending it back past the keeper and into the net.

It was a goal that encapsulated the energy and work ethic that Cooke offers, and saw Gateshead's reluctance to go long brutally punished.

Scott McManus' 25-yard curler it wasn't, but who cares. The 7,000 Halifax fans didn't.

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Chris Millington's decision to start Cooke ahead of Matty Warburton was justified.

Gateshead again saw more of the ball at the start of the half but didn't do enough with it.

Top-scorer Adam Campbell fired well wide after a one-two, but the Town defence wasn't getting stretched or turned or pulled out of shape.

Halifax had offered nothing as an attacking force since the break, relying on their ability to preserve their lead rather than adding to it.

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Jesse Debrah said his probable goodbye in a Town shirt earlier than anticipated when he was forced off through injury, replaced by Luke Summerfield with Jack Hunter moving into the back three.

Alli produced only the game's second shot on target midway through the second-half having burst upfield and dropped his shoulder to cut onto his right foot.

Gateshead fans took encouragement from their half-chances and blocked shots, with their team very much still in the game and making Halifax's lead look slender.

Hunter nearly added a second against his old club from a free-kick but Montgomery reacted well to keep out his prod towards goal.

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Now it was Gateshead's chances in the game that were looking slender, their lack of quality in the final third holding them back.

They were still to have a shot on target until Kamil Conteh's tame effort with ten minutes remaining. Campbell then had an equally soft shot moments later.

Campbell's next shot was much better, but Sam Johnson reacted superbly to keep it out.

There was a heart-in-mouth moment in the 90th minute when a Gateshead player went down in the box, but was mercifully booked for diving.

The heart wasn't made for such tension.

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Town navigated their way through seven unbearably tense added minutes before the full-time whistle meant they'd regained the FA Trophy.

Halifax: Johnson, Debrah (Summerfield 63), Stott, Senior, Golden, Hunter, Gilmour, Cappello (Warburton 72), Alli, Cooke (Wright 90), Harker. Subs not used: Sinfield, Lavelle, Clarke, O'Rourke.

Scorer: Cooke (44)

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 2

Corners: 4

Gateshead: Montgomery, Tinkler, Richardson (Harris 83), Storey, Magnay, Conteh, Bailey, Ward, Olley, Campbell, Martin (Thompson 85). Subs not used: Marschall, Knight, Archer, Franklin, Asikaogu.

Shots on target: 3

Shots off target: 10

Corners: 4

Attendance: 27,374

Referee: Darren England

Town man of the match: Tylor Golden. Typically fantastic performance by the player of the season. Didn't put a foot wrong all game.