Wembley success so special with South Shields, admits Wayne Phillips

South Shields midfielder Wayne Phillips in action at Wembley in the FA Vase final.
South Shields midfielder Wayne Phillips in action at Wembley in the FA Vase final.

FA Vase glory tasted sweeter the second time around for South Shields’ hometown hero Wayne Phillips.

The 31-year-old midfielder won the competition with Spennymoor Town back in 2012-13.

But to do it at Wembley with the Mariners, eclipsed that feat for born and bred Sanddancer Phillips.

“I am a Shields lad, so for me this has been very special,” he said of the 4-0 triumph over Cleethorpes Town on Non League Finals Day at the national stadium on Sunday.

“It probably feels better than when I won it with Spennymoor a few years back.

“The season we have had has been absolutely unbelievable.

“We have won every competition we have been involved in, apart from the FA Cup, which we were obviously never going to win.

“That is some achievement. It will live long in the memory.

“It might take some time for it to sink in just what we have done. It might takes weeks, it might take years for the scale of what we have achieved to sink in.

“We do feel like we have done the town proud.”

Phillips was outstanding on the left side of midfield for Shields at the weekend, and was announced as man of the match over the Wembley tannoy as a result.

He left on the team bus with a bottle of Champagne as recognition, but he did not drink it all to himself.

Instead, he preferred to share it with frontman Gavin Cogdon.

“I have to share it with Titch (Cogdon) - he was a livewire all game,” said the former Gateshead, Harrogate Town, Whitley Bay and Blyth Spartans winger.

“I was happy with my performance and ultimately happy with the win. It was an amazing occasion.”

Around 15,000 Mariners fans flooded the capital over the weekend.

The South Shields boys certainly did make all the noise in the big smoke, invading Covent Garden then stealing the show with their vociferous support of their heroes from the terraces under the famous arch.

Phillips says the players have nothing but thanks to those who have backed them all the way to glory.

“To be fair the last couple of seasons have been fantastic,” he said.

“We have had so much support from the people at the club, supporters. It hasn’t just been about people jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, the town has absolutely come together.

“The whole of Shields has supported the team and we are very grateful for it.”

Despite the one-sided scoreline, and Shields dominance of proceedings, they didn’t wrap the game up until late on. With 10 minutes left on the clock the game, although utterly in the Mariners control, the scoreline was still 1-0 and finely balanced.

At no point though, did those out on the park have any doubt that the Vase would not be heading back to South Tyneside for the first time its illustrious history.

“We had the belief throughout,” said Phillips.

“We wanted to get the early goal obviously as that would have calmed everyone down but we knew they would tire.

“We have had loads of games this season where we just stick to our ways and things work out in the end.

“We would obviously have wanted it to be easier but things don’t always work out like that.”