Gallagher accentuates the positive

Michael Bailey Lowestoft Town joint manager Ady Gallagher wants his players to be proud of their FA Vase achievements - and ensure they walk away from the season with no regrets.

Michael Bailey

Lowestoft Town joint manager Ady Gallagher wants his players to be proud of their FA Vase achievements - and ensure they walk away from the season with no regrets.

The Blues were denied a second successive Wembley final in the competition by the resolute 10 men of Whitley Bay in their semi-final second leg at Crown Meadow at the weekend.

But rather than mope, Gallagher is keen his team concentrate on their achievements in the competition - something of an historic purple patch for the club over two seasons.

"We just got the boys off the pitch so they (Whitley Bay) could celebrate," said Gallagher. "The boys are absolutely gutted, they're on the floor, because this is the biggest prize of all. But the good thing is that most of our boys have experienced it before and they know what it feels like, and they can be proud of what they've done this year. We've got a real excellent side at Lowestoft. What is important is that they actually take stock of the situation, realise that it hasn't worked out for them here but it shouldn't allow something to creep in to stop us kicking on, trying to win the League and also trying to win the Premier Cup."

Lowestoft return to Ridgeons League Premier Division action this evening with a trip to Tiptree United, and Gallagher admitted there will need to be big improvements after a Vase performance that left a painful feeling resonating around Crown Meadow.

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"I don't want to take anything away from Whitley, because when you win and go and get through to a final then you deserve credit, but from our point of view we're disappointed with how we've played, particularly here," said Gallagher.

"If I'm really honest, I don't think anyone in our side really played particularly well. We didn't play well as a unit and the cohesion we had in the first half last week wasn't there in our performance.

"There were glimpses of it and sometimes it's down to personnel, individual performances, sometimes it's down to the opposition and I think there's a combination of both.

"I think individually we haven't played well enough, collectively we haven't played well enough and we've come up against a very good, determined side."

Lowestoft and Whitley Bay have played through four enthralling Vase semi-final matches over the last two seasons, with the Blues winning last year's home leg 4-0 and their north east rivals winning 3-0 on their own patch last term and edging home 2-1 this time.

"I think there are two silly games and two tight games; I feel that we've more than matched up and the two teams are quite close, and I've said to the players in there, poor teams don't get to the semi-final of the Vase two years running," added Gallagher.

"They're a good side, we are a good side. It was a shame we met now because I think that on one game, in a great venue like Wembley, it would've been a fantastic final, but good luck to them."

With a treble out of the equation, Lowestoft still have the opportunity to make it a season to remember with an 11-point lead at the top of the Ridgeons League and a Suffolk Premier Cup final against Needham Market at Portman Road at the end of the month.

"What's important now is that the boys stick together, we can't allow this to affect our season," said Gallagher, who watched on from the Crown Meadow bench alongside fellow manager Micky Chapman and coach Craig Fleming.

"Obviously it is a fantastic competition, we know from last year that it's a great day for the whole town to go to Wembley. But that's not going to happen for us this year and the players need to be honest with themselves, just as Mick and I and Flem will. But they also need to be proud of what they've achieved so far and realise that what we've being trying to do all season is be consistent, and we just fell one short today. It's just about sticking together now and trying to kick on, and not allow the disappointment of today to affect the rest of our season."