FOLLOWING their dramatic 2-1 win in Dorset last Saturday, Whitley Bay are just 90 minutes away from what would be their third consecutive FA Vase Final at Wembley.
However, standing in their way will be a talented and determined Poole Town side still smarting from conceding the two late goals that cost them the first leg last weekend.
The Dolphins travel north hoping to reproduce the football that saw them dominate the majority of the first leg while Whitley will believe they can only improve on what they admitted was a disappointing display on the south coast.
Ian Chandler’s side suffered no new injuries in the game at Poole so apart from Callum Anderson, who is unlikely to be fit following a muscle strain, there should be a full squad available.
The first goal could prove crucial and Bay will be anxious not to concede early – as they did at this stage last season when Barwell took the lead inside the first minute.
One statistic in Whitley’s favour is that they have only ever lost one FA Vase game at Hillheads – a fifth round tie against Oadby Town in 2003 when the visitors scored in the last minute of extra time to knock Whitley, the holders, out.
On Saturday, striker Paul Chow will be hoping to maintain his record of having scored in every round this season.
He is Whitley’s leading scorer this season with 25 to his name but failed to find the net at Poole, although he supplied the cross that led to Damon Robson’s equaliser.
Whitley will be hoping to have the backing of a crowd of around 3,000, as they have done for the home leg of the previous semi-finals.
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Saturday’s game is not all ticket but spectators are encouraged to buy tickets in advance to avoid queuing at the turnstiles.
Tickets costing £10 for adults and £5 for concessions can be bought at the following outlets: the News Guardian, Park View; Morrisons, Whitley Bay (customer services counter); Morrisons, Preston Grange, North Shields (customer services counter); Sainsbury’s, West Monkseaton (3.30pm to 6pm Monday to Friday); Tynemouth Station News; Whitley Lodge Wines; Last Orders, Hillheads Road; Priory News, Tynemouth; Beckmans News, Hillheads Road; and Newsforce, Whitley Road.
Tickets are also available from Whitley Bay FC Seahorse clubhouse (6pm to 10pm daily).
There will be parking restrictions in force on streets close to the ground so fans are encouraged to arrive early or use public transport if possible.
The winners will face either Coalville or Kings Lynn in the final in May, with the Leicestershire side holding a 3-0 lead going into the second leg at King’s Lynn.
Following Saturday’s cup tie, Whitley return to Northern League action with two midweek games in the south of the region.
On Monday they travel to Teesside to face Norton and Stockton Ancients, then on the Wednesday when they make their first visit to North Yorkshire side Stokesley.
Whitley will need to take maximum points from these games if they are to maintain their championship challenge.