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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May 2005, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Grays Ath 1-1 Hucknall Town (aet)
Grays Athletic win 6-5 on penalties

Grays Jamie Stuart (left) rises above Hucknall's Danny Bacon
Both teams were extremely competitive
Grays Athletic won a penalty shoot-out to lift the FA Trophy after a keenly-contested final at Villa Park.

Keeper Ashley Bayes was the hero for Grays, saving two penalties.

John Martin had put Grays ahead from 20 yards before Hucknall keeper Greg Smith made two brilliant saves to deny Dennis Oli and Stuart Thurgood.

Danny Bacon was credited with Hucknall's equaliser, although Dean Brennan appeared to get the final touch to Gary Ricketts' low drilled cross.

Hucknall keeper Greg Smith had won the Man of the Match award but it was Bayes who shined in the shoot-out.

It was a dramatic end to an entertaining contest, Grays winning 6-5 after the spot kicks had gone to sudden death.

Grays went into the final as comfortable favourites and duly completed a memorable double after winning the Conference South.

But Hucknall proved to be stubborn opposition despite the early loss of experienced player-manager Dean Barrick, who was stretchered off with a suspected broken leg on 27 minutes after a challenge with Gary Hooper.

And it could have got worse for Hucknall shortly afterwards but Hooper could not keep his volley on target after a neat one-two opened up Town's defence.

Martin had earlier showed great control to bring the ball down on his chest before striking goalwards and forcing Greg Smith into action.

But underdogs Hucknall rallied before the break, creating two promising positions only to be let down by disappointing crosses from Andy Todd and Roy Hunter.

Todd came close for Hucknall after the break but could not keep his short-range header on target.

And the match swung in Grays' favour when Martin struck, the goal the result of a long goal-kick forward that Hucknall failed to clear.

The ball eventually dropped to former Leyton Orient player Martin, who slotted home from 20 yards.

Grays took control of the game after taking the lead as their opposition started to tire.

Only a fantastic one-handed save from Greg Smith prevented Oli from scoring with a dipping long-range strike.

Greg Smith was in action again shortly afterwards, denying Thurgood - and his two saves proved crucial as Hucknall equalised soon afterwards.

Ricketts drilled cross appeared to strike Brennan with Danny Bacon lurking and the ball flew into the roof of the Grays net.

Greg Smith later saved from Mitchell Cole and in the final seconds of normal time Hunter almost snatched a dramatic win for Hucknall with a curling free-kick that missed by inches.

Hooper went close for Grays in extra-time with a header but the match went to penalties.

Despite a towering performance from Greg Smith throughout the match, it was Grays keeper Bayes who emerged jubilant after the penalty shoot-out.

Former England schoolboy international Bayes saved from Roy Hunter and - decisively - from Russell Cooke when the spot kicks had moved to sudden death.

Grays Athletic: Bayes, Brennan, Nutter, Stuart, Matthews, Thurgood, Oli, Hooper (Carthy 119), Battersby (West 60), Martin, Cole.
Subs Not Used: Emberson, Powell, Bruce.

Booked: Brennan.

Goals: Martin 64.

Hucknall: Greg Smith, Asher, Barrick (Plummer 28), Hunter, Timons, Cooke, Mark Smith (Ward 120), Palmer (Heathcote 90), Ricketts, Bacon, Todd.
Subs Not Used: Winder, Lindley.

Booked: Palmer, Ricketts, Todd.

Goals: Bacon 77.

Att: 8,116

Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).


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