FA Vase: Hebburn Town clinch victory in time-travelling trip to Wembley

It's been non-league finals day at Wembley with two North East teams battling it out, but it was Hebburn Town who came out on top.

Consett and Hebburn Town shared the spotlight in the FA Vase Final, and the two Northern League teams shared 4 goals in a brilliant first half.

Consett twice took the lead, but on both occasions Hebburn pegged them back within a couple of minutes.

Hebburn Substitute Oliver Martin proved to be the match winner. His late goal clinched a 3-2 win for the South Tyneside Team.

Consett AFC was gracious in defeat, congratulating their fellow North East opponents on the victory.

This was the match that time did not forget.

The 2020 FA Vase started for Consett and Hebburn at the back end of 2019.

Hebburn are still in the 2021 Vase and could be back at Wembley later this month.

Since then both clubs have lived through a pandemic and seen two league seasons abandoned. But now they finally get their once in a lifetime big day out.

Vin Pearson, Chairman, Hebburn Town said: "I would've never thought, years ago when I first come here, when they were in the Wearside League and I took them into the Northern League as Manager, I'd never seen us going to Wembley."

Terry Mitchell, Manager, Consett AFC: "You're planning your team, your strategy etc. to go out and play on the biggest stadium in England. It's the non-league FA Cup Final, lets be honest."

Kevin Bolam, Manager, Hebburn Town: "Biggest game in the club's history. To win at Wembley would just round it all off. It's a fantastic achievement to get there and we just hope ourselves and Consett put on a good spectacle for the North East."

There's a match within a match.

Consett versus Hebburn was also brother versus brother. The 31-year-old Purewal twins will become the first British South Asians to face each other at the national stadium.

Arjun is Captain of Consett. Amar plays up front for Hebburn.

"It's great for our family, something that they're going to be really proud of and we can be really proud of and just hopefully we can both play well, and hopefully we win!"

"It's amazing how it's me and me brother on opposite teams playing against each other at Wembley. Somebody is going to win and obviously someone's going to be disappointed at the end of it. But hopefully I'll be on the winning side."

"Me mam's torn, torn to bits and obviously me family as well. Some of them are saying we're not going to watch it. But you've got to, at the end of the day, we're playing on TV. Making history."

"Me mam's just in the middle, hasn't got a clue who to support. All me relatives are the same, don't know who to support."

Once in a lifetime could be twice in a month for Hebburn Town. They're into the quarterfinals of the 2021 Vase - they could be back at Wembley for another Vase Final before the end of May.

Louis Story, Captain, Hebburn Town: "We've got an unbelievable opportunity to play twice in a month. It's a challenge that we're relishing and a challenge that we'll face head-on and hopefully we can not only play there twice, but win their twice as well."

There's a note of disappointment. No fans allowed. Wembley will be a ghost town. Both clubs and their local MPs campaigned to get some supporters allowed in as Covid restrictions start to ease. But to no avail.

Stephen Rutherford, Director of Football, Hebburn Town: "We want the community to be involved in the day as much as us going down there. You see the big screen behind me, we've got that set up. We've sold out of the tickets."

Frank Bell, Chairman, Consett AFC: "I think it was a great opportunity for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and also the FA, to get a message over that grass roots matters and I think they've missed that opportunity."

But Consett and Hebburn have not missed their opportunity. Neither has played at Wembley before. Both are making history. Both have used the occasion to raise money for local charities. Both clubs are ambitious, friendly and very well run.

Only one of them will bring home the FA Vase, but they both deserve to win.