Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Late Double Puts Final Day in Sight[.]; FA CARLSBERG VASE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Late Double Puts Final Day in Sight[.]; FA CARLSBERG VASE

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER

SOMETIMES down but never out, Whitley Bay once again have a foot in a Wembley final and are within touching distance of winning the FA Vase for a third time in a row.

Not for the first time, Ian Chandler's troops did it the hard way in this tie with Poole Town.

And not for the first time they did so with late drama that sent 200 blue-and-white clad fans into a frenzy.

But for the first time, Chan's Army go into the home leg of their last-four clash with a lead to defend.

As footballing contests go, this was hardly a classic as Poole attempted to suffocate the Bay, but the game ended ended with the home side gasping for air as class eventually told.

The Wessex League outfit gave it the Stoke City treatment in an attempt to push their way past the Seahorses, and with a minute left it looked like they were heading for Tyneside this Saturday with the slenderest of leads to defend at Hillheads.

That was until last-gasp heroes Damon Robson and Lee Kerr made their prsence felt. Robson popped up with an equaliser and Kerr sickened a boisterous home crowd who spent much of the afternoon airing chants about Wembley with the winner.

Played on an old school field - described by some as resembling Foxhunter's with a fence around it - it was Poole who were handed an education on the south coast.

Poole's game plan was simple, to bombard Whitley with long throws and setpieces, with Steve Richardson, still battling on at the ripe old age of 44, in the engine room used to good effect to ruffle Bay's feathers - until class showed.

That class will have to show again on Saturday as Whitley and Poole line up their soldiers again to scrap it out at Hillheads.

But having blown their one-goal advantage in their own backyard, Poole will be feeling uneasy about the semi-final second leg clash.

Richardson - who somehow got away with an early forearm chop on Gareth Williams that required lengthy treatment - will also have his work cut out to dish out the rough stuff away from his own manor.

Make no mistake, Poole deserved their 23rd-minute opener from Carl Preston. …

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