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Gateshead must overcome tough draw for place at Wembley

2J1K7MR GATESHEAD, UK. MAR 26TH Gateshead’s Mike Williamson is welcomed by fans on Non League Day during the Vanarama National League North match between Gateshead and Bradford Park Avenue at the Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead on Saturday 26th March 2022. (Credit: Michael Driver | MI News) Credit: MI News & Sport /Alamy Live News

It’s Barnet who stand in the way of Gateshead and a trip to Wembley for the FA Trophy final on May 21st, after the semi-final draw was made today. And the Tynesiders will be hoping that they can right the wrongs of previous semi-final defeats in the competition as they bid to reach the famous stadium for just the second time in their history.

The Heed have enjoyed success in the FA Trophy in recent times, and have twice reached the semi-final stage before this season. After victory at local rivals Blyth Spartans in the quarter-finals in the 2010/11 season, they then lost a two-legged semi-final to Darlington, squandering a 2-0 half-time lead at the Darlington Arena in a 3-2 defeat, and then only managing a 0-0 draw in the second leg, meaning they exited the competition.

And in 2017/18 the Heed fell at the last four stage again. This time, a 3-2 defeat away at Bromley in the first leg gave Gateshead work to do at the International Stadium. However, they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home, and the Kent side progressed to Wembley.

But a penalty shoot out victory over National League North side Farsley Celtic on Saturday in the quarter-final means Gateshead are now potentially only 90 minutes from a trip to the famous arch. Their last appearance at Wembley was a 2-1 defeat to Cambridge United in the National League playoff final way back in May 2014.

Gateshead fan Callum Pattison gave his thoughts on Saturday’s showing and memories of the tournament. He said: “We were poor on Saturday, but half of the squad is out injured, cup-tied or loaned out, so it was great to get through regardless.

“I still have nightmares from the 2015/16 quarter-final against Halifax when we were 2-1 up in injury time, and then 3-3 after extra times and lost on penalties. We had battered them the whole game and they went on to win the whole thing. I’m hoping the same thing doesn’t happen this time around.”

Barnet currently sit in the playoff positions in the National League, and entered the semi-finals after a penalty shootout win over Maidstone United. Despite the 15 place gap between the sides in the league, neither side has gained the bragging rights this season, with a 2-2 draw at Gateshead being followed by a 1-1 draw at the Hive more recently.

Gateshead will be hoping for a big crowd for the crunch tie against the Bees, and with a spot in a final at Wembley at stake. Should Gateshead overcome Barnet, they will face the winners of Altrincham FC and FC Halifax Town at Wembley on May 21st.