Newport Pagnell Town celebrate winning the FA Vase at Wembley Stadium. They thrashed Littlehampton 3-0 to win the competition for the first time in their history.
Winning the FA Vase at Wembley will take a few days to sink in for Newport Pagnell Town.
Their dominant 3-0 win over Littlehampton Town on Sunday saw the Swans lift the trophy for the first time in their history, having never made it beyond the quarter finals before.
But a stunning goal from Kieran Barnes after 19 minutes set the tone for the rest of the game, as Ben Shepherd’s second-half brace secured a comfortable win for Newport.
“It does not get any better than that,” said manager Gary Flinn. “It is a great time for them, they've worked so hard for it. They've really put a shift in for it, and they really deserve it.
“Ben Shepherd got a couple of goals and felt he could dictate the game and he did, Mo (Ahmed) was dangerous and Kieran scored an unbelievable goal he's mentioned to be about 20 times already!”
Assistant manager Gary Chance added: “It's still surreal in there for them. You can see in their eyes they're overjoyed but they're still taking it all in. It will sink in over the next few days.
“We'd have liked promotion as well, but we'll take this any day and go into next season to see what that can bring.”
Confidence was in the air
There was an air of confidence from Newport Pagnell Town long before kick-off in their history-making FA Vase win on Sunday.
Five weeks separated their last game in the UCL Premier Division and the Vase final, the Swans conducted a ‘mini pre-season’ to ensure they remained fit and healthy and ready for the vast Wembley pitch.
In preparation, they took on an MK Dons academy side and crucially, visited the national stadium on Thursday to get accustomed to the venue in advance.
“We knew we were underdogs but we were quietly confident,” said Chance. “We had good prep, we had some good games against full-time academy sides. I'd gone to watch Littlehampton and knew they were a very good side, but without sounding arrogant, which is easy after we've just won, we were confident.
“We came on Thursday which helped our prep. I know Littlehampton weren't able to do that, but we came to get the 'wow factor' out of our system and those little things help when it comes to game day.”
Huge travelling support from Newport Pagnell
Nearly 7,000 fans filled the Newport end at Wembley, roaring their side on to victory but the support has been there throughout the season.
Swans’ Director of Football Vivion Cox said: “It was amazing. You see big teams going to these games with thousands of their fans, and we always thought it would be amazing to have that sort of support for us too. I
“t was a phenomenal experience and they offered us a 12th man at times, but the team didn't really need it. We hope they come back for the home games.”
“We're blown away by the support we've had from the town” Chance continued. “It has been building and building thorughout the rounds, and today really capped it. They've helped us along the way, through extra times, penalty shoot-outs, they have been amazing.
“We want to improve, we want to get promotion but ultimately for the club, it gives us a springboard to go on. That's what we hope, we hope all the supporters can come back in and bring more with them.”