posted on May, 22 2005 @ 04:56 PM
Goalkeeper Ashley Bayes was the Grays hero with a penalty shoot-out save to give the Essex side the FA Trophy for the first time at Villa Park.
Bayes saved with his legs from Russell Cooke before being submerged by delighted team-mates. The 32-year-old was once the understudy to Ian Walker in
the England Under-17 and Under-19 teams, but it was his turn in the spotlight as favourites Grays completed a double of Trophy and Conference South
Earlier, Hucknall had their inspirational player-manager Dean Barrick carried off and taken to Birmingham City Hospital with what was later confirmed
as a broken leg. The Nottinghamshire side were heading for defeat when John Martin put Grays ahead after the interval but they fought back to force
extra-time with a close-range equaliser from Danny Bacon, who will be joining Mansfield next season.
The most notable effort of a tight opening half saw Martin race on to a Dean Brennan pass. He chested down but his lob was tipped over by man of the
match Greg Smith in the Hucknall goal. The game opened up after the break, with Grays doing most of the pressing.
Brennan and Mitchell Cole asked questions of the Hucknall defence before Grays went ahead. Dennis Oli pressured the Town defence from a long clearance
and the ball sat up nicely for Martin to turn past Smith. The goal spurred on Grays and a stunning 30-yard volley from Oli had Smith acrobatically
Moments later, a powerful Stuart Thurgood drive was awkwardly kept out, but on 77 minutes the pendulum swung in Hucknall's favour. Gary Ricketts
surged down the right to the bye-line and a low cross found its way into the path of Bacon who equalised.
A last-gasp Steve Palmer free-kick could have won it for Hucknall but he fired over from 18 yards. Extra time saw both sides adopt a more cautious
approach and, aside from a Gary Hooper header that went wide, the game seemed destined to finish with penalties.