Ex-Town defender Chris Swailes, 45, scores in FA Vase final and is Man of the Match

Chris Swailes in his days at Ipswich

Chris Swailes in his days at Ipswich

Former Ipswich defender Chris Swailes became the oldest goalscorer at the new Wembley Stadium for Morpeth today despite having undergone four heart operations.

The 45-year-old’s Man of the Match performance helped Morpeth beat Hereford to win the FA Vase.

Swailes underwent heart surgery two years ago and has a screw in his heel from an old injury.

However, he added a Wembley goal to his remarkable career as Morpeth, who play in the ninth tier of English football, came from behind to beat Hereford 4-1.

The centre-half, who also had long spells with Bury and Rotherham in the Football League, retired 10 years ago after a foot injury meant a six-inch screw had to be inserted into his heel.

He returned to the game but had to hang up his boots again in 2014 after keyhole heart surgery, only to be drawn back last summer.

It is the third time Swailes has won the Vase, after lifting the trophy as a 22-year-old with Bridlington Town in 1992 and with Dunston UTS in 2012.

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His goal pulled Morpeth level after Rob Purdie had put Hereford ahead, before Luke Carr, Sean Taylor and Shaun Bell sealed victory for the Northern League Division One side.

Last week Swailes spoke fondly of his time at Ipswich Town as he travelled down to Wembley.

“It was an absolute great grounding for me at Ipswich and it was the best club I ever played for,” he said.

“I wish I had stayed in the area and I can’t speak highly enough of the place, right from starting with Bobby Ferguson, through to John Lyall and the likes of Peter Trevivian, Charlie Woods, Bryan Klug, George Burley and Dale Roberts,

“People talk about playing the ‘Ipswich way’ but that stood me in good stead.”

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