Whitley Bay North 4 Whitley Bay South 2
Sunday 5th May 2019
Whitley marked this week’s tenth anniversary of their first Wembley victory with a special reunion of players from all four FA Vase winning squads. Teams of Bay players from North and South of the Tyne competed for the Mark Taylor ‘Ten Years On’ trophy, watched by Mark, whose last game was that Final against Glossop North End ten years ago and shortly afterwards was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
The north side won 4-2 but it was not so much about the score, more the reunion of old friends and the opportunity to raise funds for the family of Robbie Livermore, who died tragically earlier this year. It was a great occasion too for the fans who were able to relive some Vase memories with their heroes from ten years ago.
Not surprisingly, the north side, managed by Steve Cuggy, has a larger squad to choose from and after Andy Dugdale had blazed an early shot out of the ground, it was Phill Bell who gave them the lead after 11 minutes, heading home a cross from Chris Fawcett who had just delivered a trademark step-over.
One of the ‘senior’ players in action was defender Chris Neil, who played in the 2002 Final at Villa Park. As with many of the former players, he looked fit and gave a good performance while at the opposite end of the age range, there was a guest appearance from Ben Chandler, Ian’s son and a mascot at Wembley in 2009, while another player invited to take part was Robbie Livermore’s son Callum. Brian Rowe played wearing an unfamiliar number 11 shirt, but showed little sign of being a pacy left winger!
Of the current Bay first team, Craig McFarlane is the only player to have featured in all three Wembley Finals and his fitness proved a tough test for some of the south side. Teenager Kieran Brannen and reserves youngster Marcus Summers also got some time on the pitch to strengthen the south squad. The greater amount of action came in the south half but Bell’s header was the only goal scored before the interval, with the game being limited to 30 minutes each way.
After the half time break, Terry Burke, at the age of 47, gave a glimpse of his continued agility and fitness with a great save but soon after, the north side extended their lead when Fawcett rolled back the years as he drove a low shot beyond Burke into the bottom corner of the net. Paul Robinson, denied opportunities to shoot from distance, added a third before a special round of applause greeted the arrival onto the pitch of Ian Chandler, donning his lucky shirt from the 2002 Final, which he wore during all of the 2009-2011 victories.
Substitutions continued in order to give some players a breather and to ensure all had some time on the pitch. Paul Chow, who the crowd were desperate to see get on the score sheet, put the ball in the net while on the ground on the edge of the six yard box following an infringement but to no one’s surprise the goal was ruled out. Moments later at the other end Brian Smith sent a free kick inches wide of Terry Burke’s goal.
Midway through the half, and to the delight of the crowd, a foul in the box saw the south side awarded a penalty. Paul Chow tried an unconventional method of beating Kyle Hayes by rolling the ball past him with his hand, but referee David Pill, who along with his assistants donated his match fee to the Livermore family, insisted that the penalty should be retaken and this time Chow gave Hayes no chance with a great spot kick into the right corner of the net.
A comical moment came when Gary Ormston, having been light heartedly cautioned, responded by hugging Mr Pill!
The entertainment continued and there were smiles all round when with a piece of skill reminiscent of many of his goals in Bay colours, Lee Kerr struck the ball perfectly from 25 yards and it flew past substitute keeper David Sproat, (another from the 2002 era but more recently a coach).
In an effort to snatch an equaliser for the south side, Terry Burke came up for a corner but when he had a chance of a shot, he fired the ball high over the bar and almost out of the ground.
Paul Robinson rounded off a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable game with an excellent shot late on to give the north side a 4-2 success.
Glen Martin was back in the dugout as physio but was not required to administer treatment, though a number of players probably had a few aching muscles after their exertions!
The North side may have won the trophy but it was the Livermore family who were the main winners on the day, with £1500 being raised by those in attendance.
The players clearly enjoyed the occasion and it is planned to stage the event again in the coming two years to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2010 , 2011 Wembley victories and the 20th anniversary of the 2002 Vase success at Villa Park. Hopefully the fans will respond by turning out in force.

Bay North: Kyle Hayes, David Sproat, Craig McFarlane, Lee Picton, Darren Reay, Brian Smith, Gary Ormston, Andy Dugdale, Gareth Williams, Phill Bell, Chris Fawcett, Paul Robinson, Callum Livermore, Chris Bone  Manager – Steve Cuggy, Assistant Manager; Gavin Fell, Coach Darren Timmons.
Bay South: Terry Burke, Chris Neil, Steve Gibson, David Pounder, Ben Chandler, David Coulson, Marcus Summers, Kieran Brannen, Paul Chow, Lee Kerr, Brian Rowe, Ian Chandler  Manager: Ian Chandler, Assistant Manager Brian Rowe
Referee: David Pill, Assistants Darren Williams, Michael Taylor