Newport Pagnell Town win FA Vase after beating Littlehampton in final

Newport Pagnell Town have won the FA Vase for the first time after a 3-0 win over Littlehampton Town.

The Swans won the final at Wembley Stadium, to the delight of around 7,000 supporters who made the trip from Buckinghamshire to North London.

Kieran Barnes struck a sensational opener for Newport Pagnell inside the opening 20 minutes, before Littlehampton suffered a blow when player-joint-manager George Gaskin was stretchered off with an injury.

Two strikes by Ben Shepherd then saw the visitors move further ahead in the sunshine, as they rounded off a successful day.

A Pagnell team that finished 5th in the United Counties League’s Premier Division South duly saw the job through, defeating a Littlehampton team who had won promotion from the Southern Combination Football League’s top flight and scored well over 100 goals during their season.

A lively opening phase saw both sides have chances, but the deadlock was broken in glorious fashion after 19 minutes.

Shepherd’s corner was half-cleared but Barnes met it with an emphatic volley that flew past Littlehampton goalkeeper James Binfield and into the top corner to give Newport Pagnell Town the lead.

Jake Watkinson then fired wide when well placed, but the game was stopped for a period after a clash of heads with Mo Ahmed that left Gaskin injured and needing to be stretchered off.

Littlehampton did apply pressure early in the second half but needed Binfield to make a big stop to keep out Alfie Powell in the opening minutes.

That however would only be a brief reprieve. Just under 10 minutes into the second half, Shepherd was first to the loose ball after Watkinson’s first strike was blocked and duly finished to make it 2-0.

Littlehampton nearly got back into the game when Tom Biggs hit the post after a defensive mix-up, but within seconds, the Swans scored again.

Watkinson broke into the box and was brought down, giving Newport Pagnell Town a penalty that Shepherd converted to make it 3-0 and put the Swans’ fans into further ecstasy.

Littlehampton would have some half-chances late on, but there was no denying Newport Pagnell Town as they saw out a sensational result to claim victory at Wembley and be crowned FA Vase champions.

The match came as part of a double-header, with Bromley defeating Wrexham in the FA Trophy final played after the FA Vase match concluded.

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