Morpeth Town release statement disputing some of South Shields' claims over Vase controversy
Morpeth Town have responded to the controversial abandonment of their FA Vase game against South Shields by releasing a statement which refutes some of the claims made by the Mariners.
Morpeth were leading 4-2 on Saturday when there was a floodlight failure at Mariners Park with just eight minutes of normal time remaining.
The game was unable to be restarted, and the FA ruled that it must be replayed - to the obvious disappointment of Morpeth, especially with South Shields being down to 10 men following the sending off of Julio Arca.
The Mariners [South Shields] released a statement in which they sought to clarify the chain of events during and after the floodlights went out.
However, Morpeth have released their own statement in which they dispute some of Shields' version of events.
Morpeth Town club statement: "Following the abandonment of the FA Vase match between South Shields and Morpeth Town the club has kept its own counsel with dignity, despite it being such a massive disappointment to all the players, fans and officials as to the circumstances. "Let us state at this stage that Morpeth Town have enormous respect for all the good people behind the scenes at South Shields, and its wonderful supporters who back the club so amicably and help make it the huge success story it is. "We feel, however it very important to let everyone know what our versions of the facts are, not only to make it clear to all what happened, but to create a position where lessons can be learnt in order such incidents do not reoccur.
South Shields have, up until now, relied upon a diesel driven engine which drives a generator thereby creating electricity for the club. On Saturday the generator did not catastrophically fail, it was the engine driving the generator that was starved of diesel either by a break in the fuel lines or a blockage in the system. In the case of Saturday, any blockage or air lock would almost certainly have been in the area of the filters (borne out by historical data at South Shields). When the fuel failed to reach the compression area of the engine it came to a natural halt, the generator then stopped working and the lights went out. This was confirmed by the Morpeth electrical mechanical engineers who were present. "To compound the problem of fuel starvation, the batteries had gone flat after multiple attempts to start the engine when under full load and still connected to the live system. It is normal practise when restarting a diesel engine to isolate the load and then start the generator in a stabilized condition. This situation was rectified by the engineers but by this time, the battery was too flat to operate with no back-up batteries it did not allow the engineers time to rectify the problem. "It is unfortunate that procedures at South Shields had not been followed as in a number of previous instances, such as against Willington FC. In near identical circumstances, they managed to diagnose and fix the problem by bleeding the system within a 40 minutes timeframe. "We would like to thank and apologise to all of our fans who attended the match on Saturday, and urge them to get behind the team again on Wednesday evening in our attempt to reach the fifth round of the competition."
Chris Swailes (second left) celebrates with his Morpeth team-mates after equalising in FA Vase final
Chris Swailes became Wembley's oldest goalscorer, and won the competition for a third time, as he helped Morpeth Town beat Hereford 4-1 to win the FA Vase on Sunday.
The 45-year-old, who played for Ipswich, Bury and Rotherham among others during a lengthy Football League career scored Morpeth's equaliser just over two years after falling ill while playing for Dunston UTS and having to have his heart restarted three times. Swailes, who has since undergone four lots of heart surgery, returned to the playing ranks earlier this year after ending a spell as assistant manager to Martin Canning at Hamilton Academical.
Morpeth Town celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Vase final
Victory for the Northern League Division One side looked to be a long way off when Rob Purdie put Hereford, backed by nearly 20,000 fans, in front after less than two minutes with a 20-yarder. Sirdic Grant had two chances to add to their lead, hitting the crossbar with one of them, before Swailes bundled the ball home from close range after former Torquay 'keeper Martin Horsell failed to deal with a high cross. Morpeth were buoyed by that goal and almost grabbed a lead before half-time through top-scorer Michael Chilton, but they did go in front two minutes after the break through Luke Carr. Keith Graydon played a big part in Morpeth's second goal, and he also set up the third on 59 when a through-ball made it all the way through for Sean Taylor to sidefoot past Horsell.
Hereford FC mascot 'Hawkesbury Ronaldo' is paraded in front of fans
By now Morpeth were dominant, and they had few problems dealing with Hereford's desperate attacks before adding a fourth goal two minutes into added time through substitute Shaun Bell. For Swailes that meant time to celebrate a third Vase final victory, after lifting the trophy as a 22-year-old with Bridlington Town in 1992 and again with Dunston UTS in 2012.