West Auckland prepare for Wembley
Two years after playing Dunston UTS at Wembley, West Auckland FC are preparing for their second FA Vase final.
West Auckland go up against Southampton’s Sholing at 3pm on Saturday.
Reflecting on a second appearance at Wembley in three years, manager Peter Dixon will tell his players to enjoy every second of the final.
Their Northern League season came to a close on Friday with a 4-0 loss at Bishop Auckland, finishing fifth in the Division One table.
Following a packed season a book detailing the story of West Auckland FC will be launched this week. West Auckland author Martin Connolly has written the book which looks at the 1909 and 1911 tournaments when the North East side beat FC Winterthur and Juventus to win the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy.
Road to Wembley
The place in the final was booked on Saturday, 5th April when West visited St Andrews and came back from behind with two goals in the closing minutes. Fans invaded the pitch at the end of the game to congratulate and celebrate with the players. Both goals were scored by substitutes Steven Richardson and Stuart Banks. The first leg, played at the Seagraves Stadium, ended in a 0-0 draw.
The journey started in October with a first round 5-0 win over South Shields. The second round saw a slimmer 1-0 victory over Shildon when substitute Paul Garthwaite found the roof of the net from 20 yards.
In the third round Billingham Synthonia held the lead in the first half, with West Auckland equalising before going on to the fourth round with a 2-1 win. Two quick goals in extra time for January’s away fixture with Whickham saw West Auckland progress with a 3-1 win.
Returning home for the fifth round fixture amid bad weather, an anticipated pitch inspection meant West could host Hallen and score just before half time. John Campbell made it 2-0 in the second half, and secured a place in the sixth round.
“I’m delighted, because I thought the conditions today weren’t really conducive to a good game of football,” said manager Peter Dixon on the win.
Listen to Peter Dixon talking to Saturday Sport after the fifth round win:
It was a repeat of the 2012 FA Vase Final in March when Dunston UTS hosted West in the sixth round. In an earlier Northern League fixture this season West won 5-3, and with more than 1,000 in attendance for the Vase match, Dennis Knight scored to take them through 1-0.
West Auckland play Sholing FC on Saturday, 10th May at 3pm at Wembley Stadium.
Saturday Sport on 105.9 Bishop FM have build-up and commentary live from Wembley Stadium from 2pm on Saturday, 10th May. Brought to you by Ebac.