Lowestoft set for Whitley return

Whitley Bay will once again be the team standing in the way of Lowestoft Town and a Wembley final in the FA Vase semi-finals.The Trawlerboys were 4-3 victors at the same stage last season.


Whitley Bay will once again be the last team standing in the way of Lowestoft Town and a FA Vase Wembley final.

The Trawlerboys were victors over Bay in the two-legged semi-final last season after a dramatic duel, in which Town won 4-0 in the first leg at Crown Meadow before conceding three goals in the first 20 minutes in the north east.

Lowestoft famously hung on to book their place at Wembley, but now face the prospect of a Whitley Bay side no doubt desperate to gain revenge on their defeat last spring.

The possibility of a rematch with Whitley Bay was much-talked about at the final whistle of Saturday's 4-0 whipping of Bideford, and football has a happy knack of delivering what fate promises - and this rematch is about as appetising as they come.

“I think a lot of people have talked about Whitley Bay and asked us are they still in it,” said Town joint manager Ady Gallagher, following Town's victory over the Robins.

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“Whitley are an absolutely fantastic side but we beat them over the two legs last year and I felt we deserved it over the two legs.

“If we get them again, then so be it. There is no point fearing or worrying about anyone. They are a very, very good side.”

Whitley have been in irresistible form during this season's competition, completing a 5-2 win over Biggleswade Town in the quarter-finals at the weekend and sitting second in Northern League Division One.

But Lowestoft are a long way from the struggling Ridgeons Premier Division side that so nearly crumbled on the north east coast 12 months ago, with an unbeaten record at Crown Meadow and 12 points to spare at the top of the table. All in all, it promises to be a firecracker of a Vase semi-final.

“We feel that at the minute we're unbeatable,” said Town keeper Andy Reynolds after Saturday's quarter-final victory. “It's been mentioned that it's written we probably will play Whitley and the outcome would be a lot different, but I'm sure they wouldn't come here and lose 4-0 and I'm sure we wouldn't go there and lose 3-0.

“Both sides will be wiser this year and if we get them, it's obviously going to be a great semi-final.”

Lowestoft will travel to Hillheads for the first leg on Saturday, March 28, before hosting Whitley Bay at Crown Meadow seven days later, with �7,000 and a Wembley date awaiting the winners.

In the other last-four tie, Needham Market will face Glossop North End if they can overcome Chalfont St Peter in their quarter-final replay on Saturday, having drawn 1-1 after extra time at Bloomfields at the weekend. Needham would be at home for the first leg.