NORTHERN League Division One side Morpeth Town produced a fantastic comeback to stun Hereford FC and their army of supporters 4-1 in this afternoon’s FA Vase Final at Wembley.
The first of a Non League Finals Day double header got off to a flying start when the Bulls’ Rob Purdie advanced unchallenged to fire his side ahead after just two minutes at the National Stadium.
And the Bulls, backed by nearly 20,000 supporters on the afternoon, dominated the opening half-hour and arguably should have been out of sight.
Sirdic Grant was first denied by Highwaymen stopper Karl Dryden, before the Bulls’ midfielder cracked the bar with a great effort from 20 yards.
On 23 minutes there was a golden chance for the Bulls to double their lead but Pablo Haysham missed his kick after great build-up from Mike Symons on the left.
Hereford were made to pay for that profligacy on 34 minutes. A corner from the left was missed by Bulls’ stopper Martin Horsell and that allowed veteran Chris Swailes to chest the ball home from close-range – the 45-year-old becoming the oldest play to score at the new Wembley in the process.
And five minutes later the North Easterners should have been ahead. Michael Chilton had the simple task of tapping home from six yards but he contrived to poke the ball wide with the goal gaping.
The Highwaymen were not so wasteful with their next chance though, taking the lead a minute after the restart.
Neat play in the area by Keith Graydon and Ben Sayer allowed Luke Carr to steer into the corner from 12 yards.
And Morpeth kept the momentum going by adding a third on 59 minutes. Graydon slipped a ball through to Sean Taylor and he made no mistake with a neat finish beyond Horsell into the bottom right corner.
Try as they might, the Bulls couldn’t force their way back into the game and it was the Highwaymen who raced away to make the game safe in injury time.
The ball eventually worked its way through to substitute Shaun Bell and he fired into the bottom left corner via the aid of a deflection to make it 4-1.
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, Niall Harrison
Goals: Swailes 34, Carr 47, Taylor 59, Bell 92
Referee: Stuart Attwell