It’s called the Wanted Stadium these days. For a club as deeply steeped in tradition as West Auckland, the idea of sponsoring the name of the ground comes as a bit of a shock. Yet, undeniably, the place looks spick and span these days, the two old stands smartened up nicely compared with the blog’s last visit while researching Ancients and Mariners in the 2016/17 season.
The First World Cup is still a prominent motif in the décor here and the story recently got another retelling in the short film Our Cup of Tea. But today it’s the FA Vase, a more recent object of desire for West after two final defeats. While rain and frost wiped out much of the local football programme, the visit of Yorkshire Amateur was never in serious doubt. Crisp, autumnal conditions beneath the setting sun provided a perfect stage for the game.
But the home team were in danger of fluffing their lines. An early missed chance set the tone as the ball squirted across the face of goal with nobody applying the finishing touch. The Ammers grew in confidence and took the lead early in the second half with the home defence nowhere to be seen as Stephen Smith set up Ashley Flynn for the opener.
It wasn’t until late in the game – too late for decent photos to emerge from the twilight – that West hit back. Substitute David Dowson, recently signed from Consett, headed home the equalizer in the 81st minute and got the winner with three minutes left. Could it be third time lucky at Wembley this season?
Darlington Road, West Auckland, England
Nov. 30, 2019. FA Vase Third Round
West Auckland Town 2 (Dowson 2) Yorkshire Amateur 1 (Flynn)