THERE are some things in life that you do not want to experience again – and heartbreak in the FA Vase is one of them for Whitley Bay FC striker Paul Chow.
It may appear a strange concern for a striker who had just scored a hat-trick to secure his side’s return to the home of English football for a third consecutive season.
And from a player who has experienced the joy of winning the competition the last two seasons, as well as being the record holder of the quickest goal scored at the new Wembley.
But it all relates to Saturday, March 29, 2008, at Hillheads.
On that fateful day Whitley Bay failed to recover from a 4-0 first leg deficit and lost the FA Vase semi-final 4-3 on aggregate to Lowestoft Town.
Now, an incredible 25 unbeaten FA Vase games later, it is that defeat which spurs the Bay on.
Chow said: “We were here four years ago and got beat in the semi-final and it was such a horrible feeling and that drives you on, so that when you are one-nil down like we were last week, you know what is in store if you do get back to Wembley.”
The prospect of a third consecutive appearance at Wembley next month hadn’t sunk in on Saturday afternoon, but Chow was confident once Whitley Bay took the lead in the tie, they could go all the way.
“When we got the third we knew we’d done enough.”
Chow was mobbed by supporters on the full-time whistle and had to be escorted by security when doing interviews, such was the clamour for the hat-trick hero’s attention.
But the striker had nothing but praise for the Hillheads crowd who cheered them on throughout the 90 minutes.
“The fans are our 12th man,” he added. They never give up and that’s something else that drives us on, they are fantastic.”