"If you love Winchester City, stand up!"

That was the chant that echoed round Birmingham's St Andrew's Stadium on Sunday afternoon as the city's football team took on AFC Sudbury in the FA Vase final.

And hundreds of fans on the City side of the stand did just that-from stalwart supporters who have watched their team through thick and and thin-to first-timers impressed by the skills that brought the club to a national final for the first time in its 120-year history.

There was a friendly rivalry amongst opposing supporters right from the start, as expectant City fans took their seats, well away from their counterparts from Suffolk. But they couldn't help singing songs in the direction of the opposition -last year's runners-up.

As well as the competition on the pitch, it seemed the fans thought they'd win simply by cheering alone and, it has to be said, they seemed to win that particular contest hands down.

It wasn't long before the high spirits of the crowd percolated down to the Winchester players and when top scorer, Andy Forbes, put them head, the goal was greeted with a huge cheer.

From that moment on, there never seemed to be any doubt of a famous victory for Winchester, although every run at goal from the Sudbury forwards elicited a tensed hush amongst City fans.

The stand was filled with all ages, but the match also attracted dozens of families and there were scores of young fans, making as much noise as their parents.

And waving banners and scarves in the familiar black and red strip, the youngsters, their eyes never leaving the ball, shouted encouragement at all their favourite players.

Success was sealed when a desperate tackle inside Winchester's box led to a penalty and a dismissal midway through the second half. And as Shaun Dyke's shot was buried, the crowd finally realised the trophy was heading south.

The whistle came with joy and relief and the sun-drenched crowd proudly watched the team lay their hands on the FA Vase during a ceremony that included the obligatory tones of "We are the Champions", by rock group, Queen.

Happily filing from the ground after the game, the fans clearly didn't want the celebrations to end. Simon Peach (16), from Bishopstoke, said: "This means everything to Winchester. I hope the team does a tour around the city."

* Full report, page 24. More pictures on pages 22 and 23 and in Section 3