Wembley FA Trophy final would mean 'absolutely everything' to Gateshead FC

James 'Monty' Montgomery says it would mean the world to Gateshead FC and their fans to reach Wembley. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Gateshead FC have the opportunity to make history by booking their place in a Wembley final.

They will face Barnet in the FA Trophy semi-final at the Gateshead International Stadium which would see them play at the national stadium for only the second time in their history.

Goalkeeper James Montgomery was the hero in the quarter-finals as he saved two penalties in a shootout to help his side progress past Farsley Celtic.

The keeper, known as Monty, has been spurred by the disappointment of the 2017 semi-final of the same competition, in which Gateshead lost 4-3 on aggregate against Bromley.

He said: "That was probably one of the worst moments I've ever had on a footy pitch, being so close to a big day for the club. That season, I think we were around 16th or 17th and that was really what our season was gearing towards, just getting to the semi-final.

"I know what it does for the club. I still remember on my way into the game, I was grabbing a coffee in Sunderland and someone was just shouting to me, "good luck today mate!" because I had my tracksuit on. It's big for the club, but it means nothing if we don't progress."

When asked what it would mean to play on the hallowed turf of Wembley, he said: "Everything. Absolutely everything."

The Heed Army have only marched on Wembley Way once before but it ended in heartbreak as they lost the 2014 Conference Premier play-off final. Now fan-owned, the players and staff know all too well what it would mean to the town if they were to return.

Assistant manager Ian Watson said: "It's a huge game for the supporters. We're one game off Wembley. It's 90 minutes, it's a straight shootout. We always say we want the community to be proud of the club and I think occasions like this do that."

"We just want the boys to believe it, enjoy the occasion, work as hard as they possibly can, look after the performance and the result will take care of itself."

The club will be without player-manager Mike Williamson, who suffered an injury in training earlier in the week.

"He'll lead us however, whether that's on the pitch or off the pitch," Watson said. He's an unbelievable manager that we're lucky to have at the football club. His presence will be enough to see us to the end of the season. He'll lead from the sides so we've got no problem with that at all."

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