Great Wakering Rovers 0-3 Romford (FA Vase Final)

Romford Lift the Isuzu FA Vase at Wembley Stadium!

Great Wakering Rovers 0-3 Romford, Saturday 11th May 2024, Kick-Off 12:45pm, Wembley Stadium connected by EE, Isuzu FA Vase Final.

Romford Manager Dan Spinks claimed it was a “dream come true” when they lifted the 2023/24 Isuzu FA Vase silverware following a 3-0 victory in their all-Essex final against Great Wakering Rovers, Hassan Nalbant scoring a brace.

Thousands of supporters from both clubs travelled to North London to see the historic match as Sam Deering also got on the score sheet, Spinks’ side collecting the trophy in front of a huge attendance at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. “It’s just something you just can't put words on to,” said Spinks of the post-match activity and celebrations.

“Everyone's involved. Just brilliant… brilliant! From the minute we turned up on the Friday afternoon - we had a tour around Wembley - you could just see it in the players' eyes, especially the younger ones. I've had some of their parents message me saying you just made a young boy's dream come true and stuff like that. But it's not me. It's them.”

“They're the ones that have done it. They're the ones that have got us there. They're the ones that should be proud of what they've achieved. It's just starting to sink in. We’ve had a real good time. The day was really, really special. You could tell from Friday morning, the build-up when we went and visited the ground, how big it really was.”

“I don't think I realised what we'd achieved when we won in the semi-final, until I got there. And from Friday and Saturday, it was just incredible - something that I'll probably never do again, but something that'll live long in the memories. It was just a very, very proud moment. And to do it with people that I call friends - the club, the chairman, the secretary that I call friends - just makes it that little bit more special as well.”

Romford had entered the Vase Final fresh from Essex Senior League Play-Off Final heartache against Sporting Bengal United, but Spinks claims the Wembley experience quickly erased those memories: “For my first year, I think I've got to realise it might not always go as well as this, and there will be some tougher times!”

“But I'll take that for the first time up. Obviously, promotion was our aim at the start of the season. That never quite worked out. We just finished short. But this was good to cover any upset we had from Monday. This has overshadowed it for sure.”

On the pitch, Romford began the first half well, Finley Dorrell coming closest on the half-hour mark with a left-footed effort. Kris Newby and Charlie Morris were also inches away from scoring, the latter testing Rovers goalkeeper Luis Shamshoum, whose sharp stop at his near post kept things all square going into the break.

But, just eight minutes after the restart, Romford finally found the goal they had been pushing for, Morris threading a superb ball through to Nalbant, who calmly slotted home with the inside of his left boot. And, a couple of minutes later, Romford had doubled their lead.

A Rovers penalty appeal was ignored by referee Will Finnie, and Romford wasted no time in breaking down the other end. Dorrell’s shot was straight at Shamshoum, but Deering was on-hand to place the rebound into the far corner.

Wakering continued to push, but they were unable to beat Jake Anderson between the sticks, with Callum Boylan and substitute Anthony Martin missing golden opportunities. Romford wrapped up victory in stoppage time when Nalbant completed his double, this time with the outside of his boot. Spinks reacted: “These games are always normally very, very tight.”

“Wakering probably didn't give their best display on the day, but we were excellent from the first minute. We never let them play. We never let them settle. I think we had a bit more experience. Maybe that might have showed for a little bit, especially in the second half. But we knew it'd be a tough game. They're a very good side. They're very good lads. And it was nice to enjoy the day with them as well, because they're a good team.”

He also believes both clubs did the county of Essex proud, representing the strength of the local game: “It just shows how tough the league was we were in as well, because Wakering never even made the play-offs and they're in the FA Vase Final. It just shows how competitive that league was last year. I think that makes you better and that gives you more chance in these competitions because you're up against competitive sides every week.”

From his first moment at pitchside to becoming part of a huge club milestone, Spinks enjoyed the whole overwhelming experience: “It was just surreal. Walking out, I was talking to Marcus [Bowers, Great Wakering Rovers Manager] and it was just a dream. It was a dream.”

“The whole day went perfectly. The Wembley staff treated us like we were there for the Champions League or FA Cup Final. The whole day was perfect. And before the week started, I was asked, would I have rather won the play-offs than the Vase? And I said, yes, I would have done. But, after Saturday, I wouldn't swap that for the world. That was an excellent, excellent day. And that will live long, long, long in the memories.”

And the celebrations are likely to continue well into the summer, as Spinks predicts: “I think there'll be a holiday with the boys. I think they deserve a little trip away. Maybe take the trophy away for a little while and show it off! We're not going to have it forever, so it's nice to enjoy it while it's there and get a bit of limelight while we can.”

Great Wakering Rovers: Luis Shamshoum, Kingdom Dawson (Anthony Martin, 62), Thomas Barton (Callum Bloss, 81), Harrison Topliss, Harry Talbot, Jake Gordon, Callum Boylan, Ben Search (C), Joe Burgess, Maximilian Gnandi (Dominic Locke, 62), Perry Dunn. Unused Substitutes: Jack Nolde, Harvey Gluckstad, Oliver Jenkins, Billy Johnson. Manager: Marcus Bowers.

Romford: Jake Anderson, Junior Luke, Remi Sutton (Lee Hursit, 90), Scott Doe, Adalberto Pinto (Ashaan Siddick, 72), Hassan Nalbant, Sam Deering, Finley Dorrell (Toheeb Elegushi, 67), Kris Newby (C), Charlie Morris, Darren Phillips. Unused Substitutes: Jamie Hursit, Jacob Wiggins, Danny Hurford, Daniel Nakipov-Getmansky. Manager: Dan Spinks.

Referee: Will Finnie (Northamptonshire).

Assistant Referees: Johnathon Bickerdike (West Riding) and Steve Durnall (Birmingham).

Fourth Official: Adam Herczeg (Durham).

Related News

View All