2016 FA Trophy Final
Event2015–16 FA Trophy
Date22 May 2016
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeLee Mason (Lancashire)
Attendance46,781 (including FA Vase Final)

The 2015–16 FA Trophy Final was the 47th final of the Football Association's cup competition for levels 5–8 of the English football league system. The match was contested by Halifax Town and Grimsby Town. Grimsby Town were beaten finalists in 2013, but it was Halifax Town's first final and their first visit to Wembley Stadium in 105 years. For the first time the final of the FA Vase was played on the same day at the same venue, contested by Hereford and Morpeth Town. Both matches were televised in the UK on BT Sport.

Halifax Town defeated Tamworth, Barrow, Chester, Gateshead and Nantwich Town en route to the final.

Grimsby Town defeated Solihull Moors, Weston-super-Mare, Havant & Waterlooville, Woking, and Bognor Regis Town en route to the final.

Halifax Town won the match 1–0 thanks to a goal from Scott McManus after 48 minutes.

Club backgrounds

Halifax Town had been embroiled in a relegation battle in the National League all season. A good run in the league coincided with the start of their FA Trophy campaign as they put together some impressive results. They defeated National League North side Tamworth 5–0 in the 1st Round, who had only lost two games all season prior to that. They then went on the defeat divisional rivals Barrow and Chester before being paired with Gateshead in the quarter-final, a side managed by ex-Halifax boss of 6 years Neil Aspin. The original tie ended in a boring 0–0 but the replay was far more dramatic as Halifax were 2–1 down equalised in the 92nd minute to take it to extra time. It finished 3–3 after extra time and the penalty shoot-out was won by Halifax. In the two-legged semi-final Halifax faced Nantwich Town who were two leagues below Halifax in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Halifax grabbed the initiative in the first leg at the Weaver Stadium and took a 4–2 lead into the home tie. An early goal in the second leg at the Shay settled fans' nerves but a resilient Nantwich side fought back to take a 2–1 lead on the day and reduce the aggregate score to 5–4. The second half was on a knife-edge but an unfortunate own goal late on confirmed Halifax's place in the Final.

Halifax ended their domestic season being relegated to the National League North on the final day only two years after having made the play-offs. This was Halifax Town's first FA Trophy Final; the furthest they had reached in the competition was the quarter-final in 2014–15, 2012–13 and 2007–08. It was also Halifax Town's first ever visit to Wembley, both old and new, in 105 years.

Grimsby Town had been in the National League play-offs for the majority of the season. The FA Trophy was very much the least of their worries as they fought to return to the Football League. Grimsby's run in the Trophy was favourable as they faced lower league opposition in every round except the quarter-final, although they did face a tricky tie in eventual National League North champions Solihull Moors in the 1st Round, as Grimsby won the replay 3–2. Home ties against National League South opposition Weston-super-Mare and Havant & Waterlooville followed as the Mariners comfortably won them both. A tricky test in the quarter-final against National League rivals Woking was next but Grimsby again won comfortably to set up a semi-final against Bognor Regis Town of the Isthmian League Premier Division. Grimsby edged the first leg at Nyewood Lane 1–0 and managed to sneak a 2–1 win at Blundell Park to book their place in the Final.

Grimsby finished their season by winning in the National League play-offs in their fourth consecutive season of competing in them to earn a place back in the Football League after 6 years away. The FA Trophy Final was Grimsby's third visit to Wembley in little over a year following their defeat in the play-off final in 2015 against Bristol Rovers and the aforementioned play-off final victory over Forest Green Rovers just one week earlier. Grimsby had reached the FA Trophy Final once before in 2013, losing to Wrexham on penalties.

Halifax and Grimsby had met in the league twice and the first fixture saw Grimsby inflict a 7–0 defeat on a depleted Halifax at Blundell Park, their biggest defeat as FC Halifax Town. The return fixture was quite the opposite however as a rejuvenated Halifax side defeated Grimsby 4–2 at the Shay; Halifax were 3–0 up inside half an hour. Following Halifax's relegation and Grimsby's promotion the match was effectively a League Two side against a National League North side and possibly it was Grimsby's swansong to non-League football.

Route to the final

Halifax Town

1R 15 December 2015 Halifax Town 5–0 Tamworth Halifax  
19:45 GMT James Soccerball 12'87'
S. McDonald Soccerball 28'
Wroe Soccerball 57'
Hughes Soccerball 73'
Report Stadium: The Shay
Attendance: 439
Referee: Paul Marsden (Lancashire)
2R 19 January 2016 Halifax Town 1–0 Barrow Halifax  
19:45 GMT Tuton Soccerball 68' Report Stadium: The Shay
Attendance: 673
Referee: Joseph Johnson (Merseyside)
3R 10 February 2016 Halifax Town 1–0 Chester Halifax  
19:45 GMT Burrow Soccerball 45+2' Report Stadium: The Shay
Attendance: 878
Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancashire)
QF 27 February 2016 Halifax Town 0–0 Gateshead Halifax  
15:00 GMT Report Stadium: The Shay
Attendance: 1,431
Referee: Steve Rushton (Staffordshire)
QFR 2 March 2016 Gateshead 3–3
(4–5 pen)
Halifax Town Gateshead  
19:45 GMT Gillies Soccerball 3'105'
Bowman Soccerball 50'
Report James Soccerball 22'
Hughes Soccerball 90+2'
S. McDonald Soccerball 93'
Stadium: Gateshead International Stadium
Attendance: 724
Referee: Ryan Johnson (Greater Manchester)
Hamilton Soccerball shad check
Gillies Soccerball shad check
McLaughlin Soccerball shad check
Johnson -Soccerball shade cross
Shaw Soccerball shad check
Clark -Soccerball shade cross
  Burrow Soccerball shad check
Wroe Soccerball shad check
James Soccerball shad check
McManus Soccerball shad check
S. McDonald -Soccerball shade cross
Brown Soccerball shad check
SF 1 12 March 2016 Nantwich Town 2–4 Halifax Town Nantwich  
15:15 GMT Cooke Soccerball 43'
Kosylo Soccerball 77'
Report McManus Soccerball 3'
Fairhurst Soccerball 21'
Burrow Soccerball 46'61' (pen.)
Stadium: The Weaver Stadium
Attendance: 2,078
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire)
SF 2 19 March 2016 Halifax Town 2–2
(6–4 agg.)
Nantwich Town Halifax  
15:00 GMT Burrow Soccerball 3' -Soccerball shade cross 44'
White Soccerball 89' (o.g.)
Report Shotton Soccerball 10'
Bailey Soccerball 31'
Stadium: The Shay
Attendance: 3,009
Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

Grimsby Town

Main article: 2015–16 Grimsby Town F.C. season
1R 12 December 2015 Grimsby Town 1–1 Solihull Moors Cleethorpes  
15:00 GMT Alabi Soccerball 66' Report Brown Soccerball 14' Stadium: Blundell Park
Attendance: 1,071
Referee: David Rock (Hertfordshire)
1RR 22 December 2015 Solihull Moors 2–3 Grimsby Town Solihull  
19:45 GMT Armson Soccerball 62'
Asante Soccerball 80' (pen.)
Report Bogle Soccerball 64'
Alabi Soccerball 66' (pen.)
Mackreth Soccerball 68'
Stadium: Damson Park
Attendance: 479
Referee: Derek Eaton (Gloucestershire)
2R 16 January 2016 Grimsby Town 3–1 Weston-super-Mare Cleethorpes  
15:00 GMT Henderson Soccerball 12'
Bogle Soccerball 45'
Pittman Soccerball 61'
Report Grubb Soccerball 22' Stadium: Blundell Park
Attendance: 1,230
Referee: Ollie Yates (Staffordshire)
3R 6 February 2016 Grimsby Town 3–0 Havant & Waterlooville Cleethorpes  
15:00 GMT Pittman Soccerball 73'
Nolan Soccerball 87'
Swallow Soccerball 89' (o.g.)
Report Stadium: Blundell Park
Attendance: 1,613
Referee: Adrian Holmes (West Yorkshire)
QF 27 February 2016 Grimsby Town 2–0 Woking Cleethorpes  
15:00 GMT Arnold Soccerball 10'35' Report Stadium: Blundell Park
Attendance: 1,675
Referee: Martin Coy (Durham)
SF 1 12 March 2016 Bognor Regis Town 0–1 Grimsby Town Bognor Regis  
15:00 GMT Report Arnold Soccerball 75' Stadium: Nyewood Lane
Attendance: 2,629
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)
SF 2 19 March 2016 Grimsby Town 2–1
(3–1 agg.)
Bognor Regis Town Cleethorpes  
15:00 GMT Amond Soccerball 8' (pen.)78' Report Beck Soccerball 31' Stadium: Blundell Park
Attendance: 2,477
Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire)



22 May 2016
16:15 BST
Halifax Town 1–0 Grimsby Town Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 46,781 (including FA Vase Final)
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
McManus Soccerball 48' Report
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Halifax Town
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Grimsby Town
GK 23 England Sam Johnson
RB 2 England James Bolton
CB 14 England Matty Brown
CB 15 England Kevin Roberts
CB 6 Flag of Algeria Hamza Bencherif
LB 3 England Scott McManus Sub off 74'
CM 16 England Jake Hibbs
CM 35 England Nicky Wroe (c)
RW 17 England Josh Macdonald Sub off 62'
LW 12 Flag of Wales Richard Peniket Sub off 85'
CF 9 England Jordan Burrow
GK 1 England Jordan Porter
MF 4 England Kingsley James Sub on 74'
MF 11 England Sam Walker Sub on 62'
MF 24 England Connor Hughes Sub on 85'
FW 40 England Shaquille McDonald
Flag of Northern Ireland Jim Harvey
GK 1 Flag of Republic Ireland James McKeown
RB 2 Scotland Richard Tait Sub off 81'
CB 5 England Shaun Pearson
CB 22 Flag of DRC Aristote Nsiala
LB 3 Scotland Gregor Robertson
RM 31 England Jon Nolan Yellow card 54'
CM 8 England Craig Disley (c)
CM 16 England Craig Clay Sub off 62'
LM 11 England Andy Monkhouse Sub off 68'
RS 9 England Omar Bogle
LS 10 Flag of Republic Ireland Pádraig Amond
DF 6 England Josh Gowling
DF 23 England Danny East Sub on 81'
MF 17 England Josh Venney
MF 20 England Nathan Arnold Sub on 62'
FW 18 England Jon-Paul Pittman Sub on 68'
England Paul Hurst

Man of the match

Match officials

  • Assistant referees:
    • Adam Nunn (Wiltshire)
    • Matthew Wilkes (West Midlands)
  • Fourth official: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)

Match rules

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level.
  • Five named substitutes.
  • Maximum of three substitutions.
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