Consett 2-3 Hebburn Town: Sub Olly Martin the hero as Hornets edge a thrilling FA Vase final at Wembley
Substitute Olly Martin wrote his name into Hebburn Town folklore as the Hornets edged a titanic FA Vase Final against Ebac Northern League rivals Consett.
The lively forward scored with just six minutes left after the North East rivals had produced a scintillating contest at Wembley Stadium.
The type of clash we had all been hoping to witness soon burst into life as the quarter-hour mark approached with a stunning spell of attacking football.
The lively Michael Richardson came within the width of a crossbar of putting Hebburn ahead in front as his sumptuous, controlled shot struck the woodwork before being scrambled to safety.
The Steelmen reacted in fine style as they grabbed the first goal of the game and it owed much to the cool head of Ali Alshabeeb.
The pacey winger raced on to an incisive pass from Darren Holden and rounded Hornets keeper Mark Foden before somehow finding the back of the net from a narrow angle with two defenders on the line.
If Consett’s reaction to their let-off was impressive, Hebburn’s response to going behind surpassed it as they levelled up the game less than two minutes later.
Michael McKeown was the creator as he carved open the Consett defence and allowed Amar Purewal to avoid a late challenge from twin brother Arjun to slot the ball beyond the advancing Kyle Hayes.
The momentum built up by an eventful passage of play was brought to an unfortunate halt by a serious injury to Consett midfielder Jake Orrell.
A blow to the head led to the former Hartlepool United youngster being carried from the pitch and taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure.
It took until four minutes before half-time for that momentum to be regained but once again the two sides outdid each other with yet another explosive spell.
Consett regained their lead as the dogged and determined approach play of Jermaine Metz presented Dale Pearson with a chance that he grabbed in fine style with a controlled finish beyond the helpless Foden.
Just as they had half an hour earlier, the Hornets restored parity in quickfire fashion.
Steelmen keeper Hayes produced a point-blank save to deny Hornets captain Louis Storey – but the loose ball ran to Darren Lough and his centre allowed Michael Richardson to tap home from inside the six-yard box.
With 55 minutes on the clock, one of those chances fell the way of Graeme Armstrong as he met a flick from Hornets team-mate Purewal.
With the goal at his mercy, and Consett’s defence at sixes and sevens, Armstrong dragged his shot agonisingly wide of the far post.
Consett hit back with a chance of their own as the hour-mark passed but only a brave block by Hornets captain Louis Storey prevented Calvin Smith from putting his side in front for a third time.
The game edged its way into the last ten minutes and again Smith had a sight of goal but curled a first-time effort over the bar from 20 yards after he was found by Pearson.
Those missed chances were to be punished in fine style by Hebburn as they took the lead for the first time in the game with six minutes left.
Armstrong and man of the match Richardson linked up for the latter to find substitute Olly Martin and he kept his cool to stroke the ball beyond Hayes before taking the acclaim of his team-mates.
Martin had his place in history and the Hornets had confirmed themselves as the tenth North East club to lift the Vase.
Hebburn Town: Foden, Groves, Lough, Spence, Storey, Carson, Potter, McKeown, Armstrong, Richardson, Purewal (Martin) Subs: Donaghy, Taylor, Hudson, Mullen, Eleftheriadis, Hunter
Consett: Hayes, Metz, Holden (Lawson), Slocombe, Purewal, Wilkinson, Orrell (Allen), Smith, Pearson, Cornish (Carr), Alshabeeb Subs: Wilson, Marriott, Jakab, Russell