Hebburn Town to face Consett in an all Northern League FA Vase final at Wembley after dramatic victory
If the FA Vase was awarded for bravery, then Kevin Bolam’s Hebburn Town players would already be dancing around the trophy in the Wembley dressing room.
Through sheer guts and will, not to mention more than a hint of ability and experience, the club that could have folded just three years ago will walk out at the home of football later this month.
Not content with going a goal down in their semi-final at Southern Counties East League club Corinthian, the Hornets went a man down when Olly Martin was shown a red card for a challenge on hosts keeper Aiden Prall.
Time ticked, the sands of time ran away, captain Louis Storey carried a wrist injury for best part of the game, but a lifeline was handed to them as Graeme Armstrong stepped up to take a penalty with just three minutes left.
The former Gateshead and Dunston UTS striker wasted little time in lashing the ball beyond Prall to send the tie into extra-time.
With limbs aching, bodies draining and injuries mounting, Kevin Bolam’s men unexpectedly got themselves in front when Armstrong found the net in the first period of extra-time.
Controversy was to follow again; another contentious decision saw the hosts strike from the penalty spot within the closing-stages of extra-time.
But Hebburn would not be denied, and Corinthian’s proficiency from the spot evaded them in the shoot-out.
Their hosts, by contrast, were deadly, with four unsavable efforts.
Mark Foden saved two penalties to ensure that South Tyneside will amass on Wembley Way on the last Sunday of the month.
The club that refused to give in, the team that refused to give in, will have their day in the sun.
Consett beat Bitton 1-0 in their semi-final.
Corinthian: Prall, Kinnear, Trueman, Snelling, Billings, Bath, Oloyede, Mahoney, Tanner, Housego, Tobon Subs: James, Stirman, Johnson, Sawyer, Clarke, Holland, Fox
Hebburn Town: Foden, Groves, Lough, Spence, Storey, Carson, Potter, McKeown, Armstrong, Scott, Purewal Subs: Martin, Richardson, Donaghy, Taylor, Suddick, Mullen, Angelos
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