FA Trophy Chance To Bury Sorrow For Solihull And Heed

By Sam Elliott

If nothing else, this weekend’s FA Trophy final will at least mend one set of broken hearts.

Solihull Moors and Gateshead get together at Wembley and will no doubt exchange stories of sorrow after both seasons ended the way they really didn’t want them to.

For Andy Whing and his team, the pain is still so raw. They have to return to the scene of their heartache having seen Bromley dash their EFL dreams just six days before, despite their brave refusal to roll over in the National League promotion final.

Gateshead will say at least they got there. The rug was pulled on the Heed days before the play-offs, the EFL ruling that a ten year lease to play at the International Stadium wasn’t in place so therefore they couldn’t be considered for promotion.

So while a difficult summer will get even longer for the losers, one club and their supporters will be able to crack a smile on Saturday night.

Solihull boss Andy Whing accepts it will be a little tough to motivate his players after their defeat last weekend and said: “It’s going to be hard to pick the players up after such a massive game that went to extra-time and penalties.

“But what an unbelievable achievement for us to get to Wembley twice in six days. I don’t think many football clubs can say they have done that.

“We’ll have to pick the players back up again and deal with some injuries which have picked up unfortunately. It’s another big game to look forward to. There are loads of fans coming and I really want them to enjoy the day again.”

Gateshead want to redeem themselves having lost 1-0 to FC Halifax Town in the 2023 FA Trophy final, nine years after Cambridge United put them to sword in the play-off final.

Manager Rob Elliott thinks a difficult final few week has given the team "extra motivation" to win the FA Trophy Final.

He told the Chronicle: "The situation has not been ideal to say the least, but my focus is on us reacting as a group and on managing the players for such a big game, and trying to make the point that we would have been a force in the playoffs if we were able to play in them.

“A big occasion like this can cause nerves, but I just want to see the lads play the way they have this season and as well as I know they are capable of.

"I think that this situation can give us extra motivation to go out and leave a good impression on everyone, as it is a great day for the club and every single player deserves the opportunity.”

Where next?

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