Morpeth Town win the 2016 FA Vase

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FA Trophy and FA Vase Finals

22 May 2016 - 12:15 PM

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Hereford 1 Morpeth Town 4

Chris Swailes became the oldest player to score at new Wembley as Morpeth Town came from behind to claim a 4-1 victory over Hereford in a thrilling FA Vase final.

The 45-year-old – who has had to overcome heart surgery in his remarkable career – ironically chested in the Morpeth equaliser, after Rob Purdie had fired Hereford ahead after just 75 seconds, on his way to earning the man-of-the-match award.

Luke Carr, Sean Taylor and substitute Shaun Bell added more goals for the jubilant Highwaymen in a battle between two teams in the ninth tier of English football, Hereford from the Midland League and Morpeth from the Northern League.

It was a great exhibition of football to open up the Football Association’s Non-League Finals Day with the FA Trophy between Grimsby and Halifax to follow.

Hereford had already won two cups and a league title this season – and brought more than 19,000 fans with them to Wembley.

But this was Morpeth’s day after a scintillating second-half display.

Purdie’s second-minute belter set the tone for a frenetic first half as Morpeth were forced to chase the game from the off.

The midfielder – who made more than 100 Football League appearances for Hereford – strode through midfield and blasted past startled Morpeth keeper Karl Dryden from 20 yards.

Sirdic Grant should have doubled the lead a couple of minutes later but Dryden this time was equal to it, and minutes later Grant cracked the Highwaymen’s bar with an 18-yard screamer.

And in the 23rd minute the highly effective Mike Symons set up Pablo Haysham for a tap-in, but somehow he contrived to miss, before Symons himself was slow to react when the ball pin-balled around the goal area.

Morpeth had chances too, with Hereford stopper Martin Horsell tipping over Taylor’s fierce drive and Ben Sayer firing high and wide.

But then machine operator Swailes, who has now won the FA Vase on three occasions, made the headlines as he bundled the ball home off his chest in the 34th minute after Horsell had missed a high cross from the left.

Morpeth top-scorer Michael Chilton then made a mess of another gilt-edged chance just yards out in the 39th minute, but two minutes after the restart Morpeth were ahead.

Carr, a club manager, finished with aplomb after an exquisite move featuring Keith Graydon, Sayer, and Taylor that completely bamboozled the Bulls’ defence.

Symons tested Dryden as Hereford sought a quick equaliser, but it was groundsman Taylor who put Morpeth further ahead in the 59th minute as they dug deep for victory.

Graydon swung in a penetrating through ball that eventually found its way for the striker to sidefoot triumphantly past Horsell.

Taylor threatened again before being replaced by Damien Mullen but Bell wrapped things up with a decent run and scuffed shot that put gloss on the victory.

Hereford FC (4-4-2): Martin Horsell; Jimmy Oates, Ryan Green, Jamie Willets, Joel Edwards; Sirdic Grant, Aaron Birch, Rob Purdie, Joe Tomelty; Pablo Haysham, Mike Symons.

Substitutions: Mustapha Bunda (for Tomelty 55), John Mills (for Willets 70)

Subs not used: Nathan Summers, Dylan Bonella, Ros Stanley.

Goal: Purdie 2

Morpeth Town (4-4-2): Karl Dryden: Stephen Forster, Chris Swailes, Michael Hall, James Novak; Luke Carr,  Keith Graydon, Jordan Fry, Ben Sayer; Sean Taylor, Michael Chilton.

Substititions: Steven Anderson (for Chilton 67), Damien Mullen (for Taylor 76), Shaun Bell (for Carr 88)

Sub not used: Dale Pearson, Shaun Bell, Niall Harrison

Goals: Swailes 34, Carr 47, Taylor 59, Bell 92

Referee: Stuart Attwell

The FA Trophy Final

Scott McManus struck a 48th-minute winner that landed FC Halifax the FA Trophy with a 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town at Wembley Stadium.


A cat-and-mouse game saw the 26-year-old fire home the only goal after the Mariners made a mess of clearing their ranks.


Halifax’s win went some way to healing the pain of relegation from the National League, while Grimsby’s promotion from the same league means the teams will be two divisions apart next season.


Fresh from their 3-1 National League play-off final triumph over Forest Green, the Mariners were back at Wembley for the second time in eight days.


A cagey first half saw Jordan Burrow go close for Halifax early on, while Padraig Amond – twice a scorer in Grimsby’s semi-final second-leg win over Bognor Regis – had a wonderful chance to get on the scoresheet.


He met a peach of a cross from right-back Sam Bolton, only to aim his header straight at Shaymen keeper Sam Johnson, before Bolton himself fired a 20-yard daisy-cutter a fraction wide as the Mariners warmed to their task.


And in the 33rd minute, midfielder Andy Monkhouse came close for Grimsby with a towering header that Johnson just beat away.


Halifax attacks were sporadic with Richard Peniket having a his 40th-minute penalty appeal waved away, while the huff and puff of tireless skipper Nicky Wroe came to nothing.


However, that all changed three minutes after the interval when a left-wing attack ended with Grimsby being unable to boot clear effectively.


The ball fell to midfielder McManus 20 yards out and he sent a clever, curling strike past Mariners’ keeper James McKeown.


In the 61st minute McKeown spilled a speculative drive from Wroe, before Grimsby’s counter-attack saw subs Jon-Paul Pittman and Josh Gowling combine to set up a third replacement in Nathan Arnold to fire just wide.


McManus limped off after 74 minutes to be replaced by Kingsley James, who married girlfriend Emily 24 hours earlier in York before racing down the motorway to join his team-mates.


Halifax continued to force the pace and Arnold went close again, but Grimsby summoned up one last big effort and Johnson was relieved to fall on a Gregor Robertson header.


Then Sam Walker cleared off the line during a last-gasp melee before Shaun Pearson let fly from 25 yards.


But it was the Shaymen, with Connor Hughes racing away only to come unstuck against the advancing McKeown, who held out for a tight win.


FC Halifax (4-3-3): Sam Johnson; James Bolton, Matty Brown, Kevin Roberts, Hamza Bencherif; Jake Hibbs, Nicky Wroe, Scott McManus; Richard Peniket, Josh MacDonald, Jordan Burrow


Substitutions: Sam Walker (for Macdonald 62), Kingsley James (for McManus 74), Connor Hughes (for Peniket 85)


Subs not used: Jordan Porter, Shaquille McDonald


Goal: McManus 48


Grimsby Town (4-4-2): James McKeown; Richard Tait, Shaun Pearson, Aristote Nsilla, Gregor Robertson; Jon Nolan, Craig Disley, Craig Clay, Andy Monkhouse; Omar Bogle, Padraig Almond


Substitutions: Nathan Arnold (for Clay 62), Jon-Paul Pittman (for Monkhouse 68), Danny East (for Tait 81)


Subs not used: Josh Gowling, Nathan Arnold


Referee: Lee Mason



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