Non-League finals day 2019 is approaching and on May 19 2019, the Counties Podcast Crew, like thousands of other Non-League Football fans will be heading down to Wembley to watch the Buildbase FA Vase and Buildbase FA Trophy finals.
As we have done for a number of years now, we will be covering both games with our crew giving their experienced eye on the match as well as a few discussions around the competitions in general.
On the Sunday the Buildbase FA Vase Final will be the first game and kicks off at 1215pm between Chertsey Town and Cray Valley Paper Mills, followed by the Buildbase FA Trophy final between AFC Fylde and Leyton Orient. From an NWCFL perspective, we had interest in this ourselves until the Semi-final this season with Northwich Victoria having drawn the first leg of their semi-final in Cheshire 1-1, a 0-0 stalemate in front of around 2,000 fans meant a Wembley date with Cray Valley Paper Mills on Sunday May 19 would be decided by spot kicks. Chertsey’s Jake Baxter, Lubo Guentchev, Dave Taylor, Andy Crossley and Sam Murphy all scored while Chertsey keeper Nick Jupp saved from Ryan Winder as the Curfews went through 5-3 to become the first Surrey club to make the final since Epsom & Ewell in 1975.
Cray Valley Paper Mills secured their place with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Canterbury City, the home leg seeing a goal from Ryan Flack giving them a slim advantage into the Second Leg. That leg then being a 1-1draw the following week which saw Cray Valley make Wembley in their Centenary season.
The Buildbase FA Trophy Final has two big names poised and ready to do battle, as AFC Flylde take on Leyton Orient at 415pm on the day. We say big names, well Leyton Orient seem in a good place to return to the EFL this season having had a couple of seasons out after relegation in 2017 having been a Football League Club for the previous 112 years. They have had a great season in the Vanarama National League and as we type this out are top of the table by a point from Salford City with a game in hand and six overall to play.
AFC Fylde are no strangers to NWCFL fans of course, we know them better under their former guise of Kirkham and Wesham FC although their stay with the Counties was brief, dramatic and fruitful, we did actually have them for a season under their new (well, it was then) name. They arrived in the NWCFL Division Two in 2007-08 and basically blitzed everything, they won the Division Two Knockout trophy beating Bootle 1-0 in the final, gained promotion to the NWCFL Premier Division and of course won the FA Vase in their first season in the competition. They beat Lowestoft Town 2-1 in the final at Wembley in front of just on 20,000 fans and came back from a goal behind to do it! The following season they coasted (no pun intended) through the Premier Division and went into the Northern Premier League Division One.
The rest, as they say is history, the club currently find themselves fifth in the National League and still in with a shout of outright promotion, although the play-offs look likely and of course in the National Leagues showpiece competition. Tickets for the day are £25 and there are a range of concessions available too. The price covers both games – bargain! It is a great day out for all non-league fans, there is also a neutral section in the crowd and in the last few years this has seen fans of all manor of clubs come to support the occasion.
Join Martin Fallon, Gary Langley and your Counties podcast favorites either in the stands or via the Counties Podcast Wembley Special episode. We will also be banging out the Social media stuff too!