Paul Anderson fulfils lifelong dream to be a Wembley winner, but admits Northampton Town play-off victory was 'bittersweet' without fans
Melton Mowbray footballer came off bench in 4-0 victory over Exeter City...
Paul Anderson fulfilled a lifelong dream as he became a Wembley winner on Monday night.
The 31-year-old Melton Mowbray footballer was part of the Northampton Town squad which beat Exeter City 4-0 in the League Two play-off final.
"It was amazing, obviously," said Anderson, who has enjoyed a new lease of life with the Cobblers after finding himself frozen out at former club Mansfield Town.
"It's an incredible achievement and a dream of mine to play at Wembley.
"The way my career's gone in the last couple of years I thought it was never going to happen. But I've achieved it and pretty much everything I've ever wanted out of my career now."
Anderson labelled the evening 'bittersweet' as COVID-19 restrictions meant the club's supporters weren't able to share in the moment at the world-famous 90,000-capacity stadium, which saw the contest played out in an eerie silence.
"It was a really weird evening," said the former Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and Swansea City player.
"I know everyone's spoken about football without fans being nothing. Up until last night we just got on with it.
"To do it without the fans is a shame for them and for us, for everyone involved. There's nothing better than the fans singing and cheering, it was bittersweet really.
"When we got back to the stadium there was a massive crowd of fans that'd driven down. That was nice as at least we could share it with some of the hardcore later on."
Anderson was named on the bench for the final but got his chance as he replaced Ryan Watson in the 88th minute.
At that stage Watson, Callum Morton and Sam Hoskins had put Town 3-0 up and Exeter were down to 10 men following Dean Moxey's red card. But the winger was on the pitch as Andy Williams netted the fourth goal and the final whistle blew, confirming the Cobblers' promotion.
"Getting to Wembley was a dream but, deep down, if I'd not got on that pitch there'd be something niggling away at me that I'd not actually played on that pitch," Anderson added.
"I only five or 10 minutes but no-one can take that away from me. I've had a big part to play in getting us there. I'm on cloud nine.
"This team is an incredible team. The changing room is a good changing room. It's very tight knit and you've got good characters."