They've done it! Morpeth win FA Vase

FA Vase winners Morpeth Town. Picture by Chris Chambers
FA Vase winners Morpeth Town. Picture by Chris Chambers
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It will be an afternoon that will go down in Morpeth folklore.

Second-half strikes from Luke Carr and Sean Taylor helped Morpeth Town clinch the FA Vase after they beat favourites Hereford FC 4-1 at Wembley.

The scoreboard says it all.

The scoreboard says it all.

Adversity struck when Rob Purdie put the Bulls ahead after two minutes, and it wasn’t looking good when Sirdic Grant struck the crossbar midway through the first-half.

Chris Swailes became the oldest player to score in a Wembley final when he bundled the ball home from close range after the half-hour mark.

Luke Carr put the Highwaymen ahead after the break before Sean Taylor added a third on 59 minutes as the underdogs took the game to their opponents.

Shaun Bell’s deflected effort deep into injury-time wrapped up an emphatic display as the 4,000 travelling fans witnessed a moment that was 122 years in the making.

Fans in the stadium.

Fans in the stadium.

The Highwaymen managed to secure their first ever trip to Wembley after Carr’s injury-time goal at Craik Park, but it certainly was a start to forget at the national stadium.

Joe Tumelty darted inside and managed to find an unmarked Purdie, who was allowed time on the ball before he unleased a stunning strike from 25-yards, which sailed into the goal.

Just two minutes later Karl Dryden stopped the Bulls from doubling their lead, after Sirdic Grant’s strike was pushed round the post.

Dryden was Morpeth’s man of the moment in the opening half-hour, producing more fantastic stops to keep Hereford’s lead to just one.

Taylor’s effort was Morpeth’s first of the afternoon on 17 minutes, but he was denied by Martin Horsell.

On the half-hour mark Grant nicked the ball ahead of James Novak before unleashing his shot, which rifled off the crossbar.

However, the Bulls were made to rue their missed chances on 34 minutes, as the Highway Men found a way back into the game.

Horsell came out to collect the in-swinging corner from Ben Sayer, but the ball sailed over the top of the keeper and Swailes bundles the ball home from close range.

Michael Chilton should have put the Highwaymen ahead when Carr played the ball across to the forward, but after missing from six-yards, the linesman had his flag up.

After a strong finish to the first-half, Morpeth came out after the break and caught their opponents by surprise by taking the lead in the game for the first time.

Just 41 seconds after the restart, Taylor found Carr with a dinked pass and the number forward delicately placed the ball across goal and into the net.

Hereford didn’t know what hit them and were shell-shocked, and the Highway Men caught the Bulls off-guard once more as they added a third on 59 minutes.

Chilton made up for his miss in the first-half, playing a neat reverse ball through to Taylor, who kept his composure and slotted past Horsell in the Hereford goal.

The 4,000 Morpeth fans were in full voice as the 20,000 Bulls fans were silenced by the third goal, but it wasn’t until 72 minutes when they managed to come up with a good opening.

Substitutes Mustapha Bundu and John Mills linked up well, but the latter seemed to pull out of prodding home as Dryden came to collect the ball.

Steven Anderson, who came on in place of veteran forward Michael Chilton, could’ve added a fourth on 76 minutes, but the effort rolled into Horsell’s gloves.

The keeper was called upon again moments later when Taylor drove at goal, and Horsell denied Morpeth another goal with a superb stop low down.

Mustapha Bundu couldn’t convert his chance late on, and Bells deflected effort evaded Horsell deep into second-half injury-time to seal the victory.