Whitley Bay's warning for Lowestoft
Michael Bailey Whitley Bay defender Leon Ryan has warned Lowestoft Town they are aiming to do at Crown Meadow what the Blues did at Hillheads last season - celebrate a place at Wembley.
Whitley Bay defender Leon Ryan has warned Lowestoft Town they are aiming to do at Crown Meadow what the Blues did at Hillheads last season - celebrate a place at Wembley.
The Trawlerboys lost 3-0 in last season's FA Vase semi-final second leg in the north east, but the final whistle was greeted by jubilant scenes from the visiting players, staff and fans on the pitch after Town's 4-0 first leg win proved enough to make it to the final.
That painful picture has been motivating Whitley for some time as they look to gain revenge - and what better way to do it than by enjoying celebrations of their own come Saturday afternoon at Crown Meadow, when Lowestoft look to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit from last weekend.
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"I wasn't at the club last season when Lowestoft were celebrating on the pitch as they reached Wembley," said Ryan. "But now there is no reason why that can't be us at their place at the weekend. We would be exactly the same if we got through because these chances don't come up very often in your career.
"It was strange in the dressing room afterwards for us because I've never known it to be so quiet after a win. Nobody was excited. We'd said all week that 2-0 would be the ideal scoreline to take down there.
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"But they are a very good side. I still fancy our chances highly though because of the way we play. We'll really be going at them."
The 2002 Vase winners had Paul Chow and Lee Kerr to thank for their second half lead, only for Town's Jamie Godbold to pop up with what could prove to be a crucial goal just six minutes from time - despite Town defender Carl Poppy's sending off minutes earlier.
But it seems Lowestoft's celebrations at the final whistle and in the dressing room this time round have also irked Town's semi-final opponents.
Ryan added: "They think they are through and that's fine by us. All we are doing is concentrating on Lowestoft next week and I can't wait to get on the bus for the game and for it all to come round again.
"If you start thinking of Wembley already your mind can start to drift, and before you know it you are out the competition.
"As far as we are concerned if we draw or win next week we're through, so it's all about focusing on finishing the job."
One thing Lowestoft can count on from Whitley on Saturday is an attacking mentality, something manager Ian Chandler is a big fan of.
"If we tried to go there to keep a clean sheet it would be against Chan's attacking philosophies," said Ryan, formerly of Scunthorpe and Halifax. "There's no pressure on us, the way we play is to attack teams and we've got so many options.
"We can go 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 and with some of our attacking players naturally we'll be going there to attack them. And if we get the first goal suddenly the tie changes completely for them."