Gateshead FC earn Wembley revenge to lift FA Trophy after dramatic penalty shootout

Gateshead emerged from the dark clouds and gloom of their play-off heartache to put a silver lining on their season by lifting the FA Trophy with a penalty shoot-out win against Solihull Moors.

The Heed made a lively start in the Wembley sun and almost grabbed the lead inside the opening five minutes when Luke Hannant’s stinging cross narrowly evades the desperate lunge of Dajaune Brown at the far post.

The control and poise that have been the hallmarks of Elliot’s side during the second half of the season continued to stand out - although poor decision making in the final third prevented them from building on their promising opening.

The Moors, still stinging from last weekend’s promotion final defeat against Bromley, started to threaten as the midway point of the half arrived as Alex Whitmore headed over at the far post after getting on the end of a cross from the left.

But Gateshead remained calm and showed lessons had been learnt from last year’s final defeat against FC Halifax Town by resuming their control and composure.

They could and would have edged themselves in front just minute after Whitmore’s chance when a brave block from Jay Benn prevented a Ed Francis header from creeping in at the far post.

The chances continued to flow the way of Elliot’s man as an incisive three-man move involved Francis, Callum Whelan and captain Greg Olley led to the latter curling a show narrowly off target from the edge of the area.

It would be a temporary reprieve for the Moors as Gateshead got the lead their impressive display merited in first-half injury-time.

Just seconds after three-minutes of added-on time had been signalled, a neat dink from Joe Grayson released Dajaune Brown and the on-loan Derby County youngster kept his cool with a cross that allowed Regan Booty to slide home from close range.

There was a momentum shift in the early stages of the second-half as the Moors emerged from the changing room looking fiercely determined to force their way back into the game.

Within minutes of the restart, Mark Beck had somehow missed from close-range after good work from Boateng before the attacking midfielder forced James Montgomery into a smart stop from inside the six-yard box.

An equaliser felt increasingly inevitable and it duly arrived with 20 minutes remaining as former Darlington striker Beck produced a powerful diving header after he stooped to meet a cross from Joe Newton.

The game should have been turned completely on its head minutes later when the impressive Joe Sbarra found his way in behind the Heed defence but could only drag a shot wide of the near post.

However, Gateshead found a second wind as the closing stages approached as Dajaune Brown and substitute Kieran Evans came close to a dramatic late winner and there was a more than credible shout for a penalty after on-loan Cardiff City forward Evans went down under a challenge from James Clarke.

That decision forced the tie into an additional 30 minutes and it was the Moors that edged in front after a moment of controversy as a century of minutes was clocked up.

Heed substitute Louis Storey was somewhat harshly pulled up for a challenge with Beck and that allowed the powerful frontman to step up on convert from the penalty spot after referee Sam Allison surprisingly pointed to the spot.

Gateshead, not for the first time this season, held their nerves and forced the tie into the lottery of penalties when Brown tapped home from close range after outstanding build-up play from Booty and Allan.

Neither side were convincing from the spot but that will matter little to the Heed as an Alex Whitmore miss allowed Dajaune Brown to stroke home the clinching penalty and ensure this Gateshead side will take their place in club folklore.

Gateshead: Montgomery, Richardson (Allan), Tinkler, Grayson, Hannant (Storey), Worman (Dinanga), Francis Whelan (Evans), Booty, Olley, Brown Subs: Harness, McBride, Stott

Solihull Moors: Hayes, Clarke, Newton, Osborne (Labadie), Sbarra (Mafuta), Maycock, Beck, Shade, Benn (Benton), Boateng (Warburton), Whitmore Subs: Flahavan, Stearman, Howell