A JUBILANT football club boss is hoping to make it third time lucky as he heads to Wembley for the FA Vase final with West Auckland Football Club.
Stuart Alderson, general manager with the Seagraves Stadium club, is hopeful of finally seeing the team win at Wembley following two defeats.
West Auckland booked their final spot after battling back from a goal down to clinch a 2-1 semi-final win over St Andrews with goals by Steve Richardson and Stuart Banks.
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They will tackle Hampshire side Sholing after the side dispatched of Eastbourne United 6-4 on aggregate in the other semi-final.
A final appearance on Saturday, May 10, for West Auckland means that the Ebac Northern league has a representative in the showpiece match for the sixth successive season.
Mr Alderson, who has been involved with the club for over 50-years, said: “It will be the third time for me.
“We lost in the Amateur Cup final against Walthamstow, and again in the vase final against Dunston UTS.
“I want it to be third time lucky for the club. It’s brilliant to get to Wembley again, especially as we’re such a little village playing against some of these big boys.
“I must admit, that I was stunned at the final whistle. I couldn’t believe that it had happened.”
The double winners of the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, the original World Cup, made hard work of their vase cup-tie win in front of a crowd of 1,415.
Richardson, who scored in last season’s semi-final win for Spennymoor Town Football Club, and Banks climbed off the bench to score.
The victory was tempered as club talisman forward Mattie Moffat suffered a fractured cheekbone and is a big doubt for the final.
West goalkeeper Jordan Nixon, who played in Darlington Football Club’s last match at The Northern Echo Arena, said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to get to Wembley.
“I thought the game wasn’t going our way, because we’d hit the bar, had a penalty turned down and the ball had gone across their six yard box a few times.
“But then we launched the fightback.”
West midfielder Robbie Briggs added: “My heart sank because I was with Shildon last season when we lost in the semi-final to Tunbridge Wells, and I thought here we go again.
“They scored with their only shot on target, and when John Campbell hit the bar, I thought we weren’t going to win.
“But we kept going, and when Speedy scored, I knew that it was our game to win. It was a scruffy goal to win a big cup tie, but we don’t care.”