If good things come to those who wait and Morpeth Town made sure manager Nick Gray was proof of that theory as they made it into the FA Vase semi finals.
The EBAC Northern League outfit saw off a spirited challenge of Bristol Manor Farm with a 2-0 win in Northumberland on Saturday.
Veteran defender Chris Swailes gave the hosts the lead after twelve minutes but the win wasn’t secured until Dale Pearson’s goal deep into five minutes of injury time.
Gray was naturally elated post-match but admitted that his side had played on his nerves by missing a whole host of chances in the first half.
“At half time I asked how we were one up but I was pleased we were in the right positions. People don’t miss chances on purpose and on another day the game would have been over at half time.
It only takes a second to score a goal and both sides had chances but we took our chances and they didn’t.
“At 1-0 they always have a sniff of a chance of getting back into the game, although really they were never out of it until the second goal.
Although I would rather not have waited until the ninety fourth minute for the second goal”
The win is the latest notable achievement for Gray and his side as they battle on a number of fronts this season.
The Highwaymen sit in fifth place in the Northern League table, twenty points behind leaders Shildon.
On face value that looked an irretrievable deficit, but Gray’s men have a mammoth nine games in hand on the Railwaymen.
They are also in the Northumberland Senior Cup semi finals, ironically awaiting a tie against current FA Vase holders North Shields.
Monday night brings a home tie in the Northern League Cup against Easington Colliery, with the prize of a quarter final tie at league champions Marske United on offer.
Their success means that Gray could be looking at a schedule containing as many as thirty two fixtures between now and the end of the season.
For now Gray is focusing on enjoying their success, rather than ruing the fixture list he has to contend with.
“It’s fantastic and I am delighted for everyone involved at Morpeth Town Football Club. You are in football for days like today.
I am sure a lot of teams would like to be in our position, we are still in with a shout of four competitions going into March and you can’t ask for more than that. We have added players to the squad to help us cope.
Today, after the game, we weren’t thinking about the schedule because with the
celebrations involving everyone at the club, it was fantastic”
One player missing from the Morpeth side on Saturday was captain Keith Graydon.
The one-time FA Vase winner was ruled out of the game through suspension, a decision Gray revealed only came to light on Friday afternoon.
However he paid tribute to Graydon’s fellow midfielder Ben Sayer and is looking forward to having the former Spennymoor Town man back for the FA the Vase semi final tie against Bowers and Pitsea.
He said “To find out Keith was suspended only yesterday(Friday) was massive because he is our captain and a real leader.
Ben Sayer stepped up to the mark, as did a lot of other lads in the squad, not just the team but the squad.
I was gutted for Keith because he has done so much for us but I am delighted that we are in the semi final so he can try and help us to Wembley”
Interview: Mark Carruthers
Images: Morpeth Town / www.actionimages.com