HE didn’t get the league and cup double he craved but winning the FA Trophy on Wrexham’s first ever Wembley appearance was a proud moment in Andy Morrell’s illustrious career.

“Even talking about it now, you get that tingle again on the back of your neck because it was such a brilliant day, a massive part of Wrexham’s history,” said Morrell.

“It was just amazing to be part of it, and maybe play my part in making a memorable day for a lot of people.”

Player-manager Morrell saw Wrexham pipped to the Conference title by Fleetwood Town in the 2011-12 campaign despite amassing a club record 98 points.

The Reds launched another promotion challenge the following season but the push for a return to the Football League was combined with a run to the Trophy final.

Winning breeds confidence and Morrell took the cup games just as seriously as the league, with Wrexham registering a 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory over Grimsby Town in the showpiece after drawing 1-1.

“The earlier rounds we still played fringe players to get minutes into them but the fringe players could quite easily have been regulars,” said Morrell.

“I wouldn’t say we didn’t take it seriously but when you are two or three games away from Wembley, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t take it seriously.

“We were going well in the league anyway so keeping the momentum made good sense to me.

“I didn’t want to stop that with a loss to somebody that we shouldn’t have lost to because we haven’t taken the Trophy seriously.

“Momentum was with us and we just continued it; we had tough games but we came through them and managed to get to the final.

“It was just an immense experience for myself as well as our staff and players, and to come out on top as well was very pleasing.”

Grimsby took the lead in the second half but Kevin Thornton equalised in the 81st minute to take the game to extra-time.

Neither side scored a winner but Morrell was pleased with the performance.

“I thought we played really well,” said Morrell. “We were very solid, although we conceded first. But we kept at it, we kept going and the group was great.

“I have never really watched the whole game back but my memory of the last 30 minutes is that we were really dominant and we could have won it in normal time, and especially in extra-time.

“But then it is a lottery when it comes down to penalties.”

Morrell need not have worried as Adrian Cieslewicz, Danny Wright and Chris Westwood were successful from the spot before Johnny Hunt scored the Reds’ fourth effort to secure a famous win.

But the Reds’ player-boss was surprised to see experienced centre-back Westwood put his name down for a penalty.

“We practised penalties the day before,” said Morrell.

“It was going to be a bit of a toss-up and who was still out there with who you could pick from but I was comfortable with the way the lads played and I always thought in the back of my mind who would want to take them.

“I asked them to see who wanted one, straight away Cizz went yes, Johnny said yes straight away, Danny Wright said yes and Westy said yes.

“I was like ‘Westy? Are you sure?’ He just went: ‘listen, I am not coming to Wembley and not taking a penalty if I have got the opportunity. Stick me in there’.

“If it went to penalties, I wanted the experienced boys on them because they have been there and done it, and if it went wrong, they were at the right end of their career to handle that.

“When Westy said yes, I was like ‘let’s go’.”

Grimsby missed their opening two penalties and although Wrexham goalkeeper Chris Maxwell never pulled off saves, he’d been studying up.

“I always remember Maxy just coming up to me and saying, ‘don’t worry gaffer, I have got it, I know where the penalties are going - especially Richard Brodie’,” said Morrell.

“He had done his homework. Maxy said ‘Brodie always goes to my right so I have got one in the bag’, and Brodie went high and that way to be fair to him!

“Maxy was sensational, he played really well in the final and did his job.”

Wrexham were so good from the spot, when Grimsby faltered, that substitute Joe Clarke never got to take the Reds’ final penalty.

“Joe was probably the only one in the stadium that wanted Johnny to miss so he could take one!” said Morrell.

“But then he would be like ‘oh no, it will be on me!’

“They were sensational penalties, the quality of the penalties were brilliant. I think they all went the same way.

“Johnny Hunt stepped up and the photograph of the lads as they set off to go after him is iconic in my mind. You can never take those moments away.”

Around 20,000 Wrexham supporters attended the final despite the wintry weather in north Wales.

Fans dug themselves out of the snow to make it to London and Morrell, his players and staff, made it all worthwhile.

“You don’t get those days very often in your career, the preparation was spot-on and we did everything right in the game, the plan went well,” said Morrell.

“Just that elation. The backstory to the plan was getting snowed in which just added to the occasion.

“It was so cold and the emotion of finally getting over that line just drained me.

“I shook hands with the opposition manager because it is respectful and then after going down the tunnel to get changed back into my kit, I just went sprinting to catch up with the rest of the lads celebrating.”

Wrexham were back at Wembley six weeks later but the promotion dream came to an end as Newport scored two late goals to win 2-0 in the Conference play-off final.

There was no double to celebrate but the Trophy success in March 2013 will never be forgotten by Morrell.

“I knew that York had done both the year before and there was no reason why we couldn’t do both, we had the squad to do it and we were going really well,” added Morrell.

“That’s what I kept stressing to the group and we got so close.

“But that day will be in-bedded in my brain for a long, long time. To lift a trophy at Wembley is every footballer’s dream.”