Gateshead target FA Trophy final win at Wembley after 'injustice' of play-off exclusion

Gateshead Interim Manager Rob Elliott celebrates with supporters after the club's 2-1 win over Macclesfield in the semi finals. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Gateshead will attack like "no team has ever attacked at Wembley before" as they look to claim FA Trophy glory at the national stadium.

Solihull Moors lie in wait as the Tynesiders seek to go one better on their efforts in the competition from last season where they fell to a 1-0 final defeat to Halifax Town.

However, the way the National League season ended has given the match an additional importance. The club finished sixth and should have had the opportunity to take part in the play-offs but were barred from taking part due to issues with their tenancy at Gateshead International Stadium.

Interim Manager Rob Elliott has admitted that the chance to right the "injustice" of what happened is a strong motivating factor for him and the whole squad.

"It's going to be a good occasion," he said. "Obviously with everything has gone on in the past few weeks. It'd be a nice way to end the season with the lads on the pitch doing what they do best.

"They deserve the opportunity to walk out at Wembley to continue what they've done all season and let football be the last word of the day.

"I think there is a little bit of sense of injustice. Because ultimately it is controllables that we can't control. But the only way you can channel it is by just getting over the next hurdle in front of you and that's the FA Trophy final on Saturday."

Rob Elliott has said his side want to let their football have the last say after they endured disappointment in the play-offs. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Elliott acknowledged the events of the last month have had a particularly strong impact on supporters as they missed out on the opportunity to see their side fight for a place in the football league.

However, for fans like David Gaddess, who hosts the Heed Army podcast, winning at Wembley for the first time would be the perfect remedy.

"It's been a heavy cloud, not going to hide from it," he said. "It's been very disappointing.

"There's been tears. I think a lot fans have shed tears over this because it was a realistic chance of getting into the football league.

"But we still got a Wembley final and they don't come along that often.

"It would mean everything to win the first trophy and such a prestigious one as well, especially after the little troubles that we've had in recent times. It's the biggest one in non-league.

"It is fairytale stuff and if we can capitalise on it, we'll move on the edge of history. Hopefully, we can do Tyneside proud."

For Gateshead players, the chance to give something back to fans for all their support over the season is firmly at the forefront of their minds.

Callum Whelan scored in the semi-final win over Macclesfield and is a former Solihull Moors player. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

"Obviously what happened, happened but we're prepared and we're ready to go," explained midfielder Callum Whelan. "We just want to go and put on a real good performance for our fans because they deserve it. They come up and down the country with us constantly.

"Hopefully we win and it will all be for them."

Whelan knows Saturday's opponents more than most having represented the Moors last season. He was among the scorers in the semi-final but expects a tough test against his former side.

"It's a great occasion against some good friends," he said. "But we're there to win and I imagine there will be as well."

Whelan was not eligible to feature in last year's final as an injury-hit Gateshead side's efforts ended in disappointment courtesy of the freakish Halifax goal.

Interim Assistant Manager Louis Storey has vowed that Gateshead will attack at Wembley. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

This time-round attack is the best form of defence with the Tynesiders set to go all out to finally claim Wembley glory.

"We want them to go and relish the game in what it represents for the group themselves, the football club and the community," explained centre back and Interim Assistant Manager Louis Storey. "Going to the game we're just going to enjoy it relish it and we're going to face it head on.

"Our mantra has been this week that we're going to attack the game of football that no team has ever attacked at Wembley before.

"That is our that's our main goal."

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