On this day fifteen years ago the Dabbers beat Hillingdon Borough 3-1 to win the FA Vase in one of, if not the greatest afternoons in the clubs history.
On the 6th May 2006 The Dabbers travelled to St Andrew’s, The home of Birmingham City to face Hillingdon Borough in the final of the FA Vase.
Nantwich had beaten sides such as Buxton, Chasetown and Cammell Laird on their way to the final so confidence was definitely high especially after beating Lairds 5-0 over two legs in the Semi Final.
The game kicked off in front of around 3,500 supporters and it was The Dabbers who took the lead after just 13 minutes to settle the nerves of all the travelling green and white army. Andy Kinsey’s low, left footed strike from the edge of the box found the bottom corner and opened the scoring for Steve Davis’ men. Sixteen minutes later The Dabbers doubled their lead as Stuart Scheuber fired home a left footed strike from just inside the area to give Nantwich a comfortable lead as they went into the break.
At half time manager Steve Davis would have been delighted with his sides efforts. However, I’m sure he would have told them that it’s a cup final and anything can happen so they had to ensure that they stayed focused and got the job done in the second period.
The Dabbers began the second period much like the ended the first. In the 60th minute Andy Kinsey grabbed his second and Nantwich’s third to all but seal the deal for the South Cheshire side. Kinsey cut inside from the left before rifling a strike past the keeper who would have been disappointed be beaten at his near post. However, the goal is still to this day remembered by Dabbers fans for the celebration that followed, As Kinsey raced over to the travelling Dabbers, He ripped off his shirt and threw it into the crowd where he unfortunately dislocated his shoulder and had to be substituted!
Quoted in the national paper, the Mail on Sunday, Player-Manager Steve Davis said: “I’ve never seen anything like that before. He could get a club fine.” I doubt if that is going to knock the shine off Andy’s day too much”
Hillingdon did pull a goal back in the later stages of the game. However, The Dabbers still ran out 3-1 winners in what a historic day for the football and the town of Nantwich!
The Dabbers squad that day included current first team coach and the clubs third leading goal scorer who played a pivotal role in all three of the goals on the day. The squad also included former Nantwich and current Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson who came off the bench to captain the side to victory. When when he was asked about the game and experience as a whole on the Once a Dabber podcast he said “Going into the game we were full of confidence. You could have put Man United in front of us and we thought we would have beat them. That’s how confident we were!” Unfortunately, Parkinson picked up an injury the week before the game and he was forced to start the game on the bench “I remember turning my ankle at Formby the week before and then being a serious doubt for the game and then a few hours before kick off Steve (Davis) asked me if I could play and I remember saying that I didn’t want to put the team at risk, as the tears ran down my face! But when I did come on I think I nearly scored! I did the right thing in hindsight, I could’ve quite easily said I was fit and played but that’s all part of being captain and a leader, You have to make the tough decisions and put the team first” When asked about the few days that followed, Parky jokingly responded by saying “To be honest, I cant really remember much of it, I do remember Dave Cooke trying to buy my winners medal of me in The Leopard! When we all got off the bus it was like the whole of Nantwich was out celebrating with us, You could barely move for all the people, It was an unbelievable time for the club it still makes my hairs on the back of my neck stand up even when I talk about it”
A few days later the whole town was shut down as the victorious squad came home to celebrate their victory on an open top bus to bask in the glory of their monumental achievement!