Newport Pagnell win FA Vase by thrashing Littlehampton Town

Littlehampton Town 0-3 Newport Pagnell Town

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 2:24 pm
<p>Newport Pagnell Town celebrate Kieran Barnes’ stunning volley to open the scoring at Wembley</p>

Newport Pagnell Town celebrate Kieran Barnes’ stunning volley to open the scoring at Wembley

Newport Pagnell Town made history on Sunday as they thrashed Littlehampton Town 3-0 to win the FA Vase at Wembley.

The Swans had never made it further than the quarter finals previously, but stamped their authority on the game early on, leading through a sensational Kieran Barnes volley on 19 minutes.

Littlehampton player-manager George Gaskin needed to be stretchered from the field just before the break, and it his the Marigolds hard in the second half as Ben Shepherd struck twice, including a penalty, to cement Newport’s dominance on the game as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.

Despite being the underdogs heading into the game, Newport Pagnell did not let the opposition, occasion or the venue overawe them in the first half as they took control of the final.

Though Lucas Pattenden had an early effort he bent over the bar, there was little to write home about for the Marigolds.

Kieran Barnes' set pieces looked to be causing problems for the Littlehampton defence as his corners twice sparked chances for Newport, while Jake Watkinson looked like he was about to take aim from just outside the six yard box only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from Lewis Jenkins.

Barnes was described by Newport stalwart Adam Pryke as the manager's nightmare in the programme, but admitted the midfielder was one of the most technically gifted in the side. And on 19 minutes he proved why. When Ben Shepherd's corner was headed clear by Littlehampton, Barnes hovered on the edge of the box and fired a wonderfully-timed left-foot volley into the top corner - a goal good enough to grace any game - to give the Swans a deserved lead.

It could and should have been a bigger lead at the interval, but Watkinson, slid in by the influential Barnes, could not control his effort on goal, stabbing it wide from close range.

But the first half was marred by a sickening clash just before the break between Mo Ahmed and player-manager George Gaskin. While Ahmed was able to hop up and continue, Littlehampton's Gaskin had to leave on a stretcher after receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch.

The injury only seemed to damped Littlehampton's mood in the second half as Newport turned the screw further in the opening stages to etch their name on the trophy. Binfield needed to be at his best to deny Alfie Powell's bullet header early in the half, but there was little he could do when his own defence forced him into a save when Danny Webb's cross caused chaos, and the rebound fell to Ben Shepherd to lash in Newport's second on 53 minutes.

It could have been a different story had Tom Biggs found the bottom corner instead of the foot of the post when neither Conway nor Sage could clear a call into the Newport box. But the Swans went straight up the other end and made sure of the result when Watkinson was downed by Lucas in the area, allowing Shepherd to net his second and Newport's third from the spot.

The three-goal margin afforded manager Gary Flinn to make changes - bringing on Ben Ford, Jim Burnside and club stalwart Adam Pryke for the closing stages as they cruised to victory to make history.

Referee: Samuel Barrott

Littlehampton Town: Binfield, Wiggans, Clarke, Layton (Harris 57), Pattenden, Biggs, Benn, Gaskin (Capon 45), Jaris, Humphreys (Herbert 57), Jenkins

Subs not used: Duncan, Garnham, Peake, Packer

Newport Pagnell Town: Conway, Sage, Smail, Wright (Pryke 73), Powell, Barnes (Ford 68), Shepherd, Watkinson (Burnside 68), Ahmed, Webb, Markey

Subs not used: Goodman, Newman, Strong, Lyon