FA Vase-winning hero Marvin McLean reckons the camaraderie in the Sholing camp was key to their Wembley triumph.
The 26-year-old electrician grew up with team-mates Barry and Byron Mason in St Mary’s, Southampton, but says that never a day goes by without the whole team being in contact, writes WENDY GEE.
McLean, whose 71st-minute winner ensured Sholing joined Wimborne and Winchester City as Vase winners from the Wessex League, said: “I’m not related to Baz and By (Mason) but they’re like family. “We went to the same schools together – St Mary’s Primary and Woolston Secondary “We’re a tight-knit group at Sholing and that didn’t just help us today, it helped us through the whole tournament. “We’re all so close and we talk to each other every day in our little ‘WhatsApp’ group.”
Reliving the memorable moment when he cut in from the left and saw his deflected shot wrong-foot keeper Jordan Nixon for the only goal , McLean recalled: “Brighty (Lee Bright) played the ball through to me. He wanted to give it to feet, but I span and said ‘put it in behind’ and he picked out the perfect pass.
“I beat the right-back, nodded it on and struck it and it took a deflection and looped in.
“You dream of it the night before but when it actually happened I didn’t know what to do!” he smiled.
“I just ran to the crowd and fainted, I think!”
“I’ve not scored many goals this season, although I’ve assisted in a few, and I should score more without a shadow of a doubt.
“But when it mattered – bang! “I wouldn’t trade that for any other goal.”
Unlike West Auckland, who experienced Wembley two seasons ago in the Vase final, the national stadium was new territory for Sholing.
But they did a tour on Friday and McLean believes it was the right move.
“It was lucky we came to Wembley yesterday because I can see how some people could get taken aback by it,” he said.
“But we got that all out of the way and, as soon as that whistle went today, we knew we were in a match.”