Whitley boss calls for fan support

WHITLEY Bay manager Ian Chandler has called on the club's supporters to reproduce the atmosphere which helped them almost pull off the most unlikely of comebacks against Lowestoft in the FA Vase semi-finals last year.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

WHITLEY Bay manager Ian Chandler has called on the club's supporters to reproduce the atmosphere which helped them almost pull off the most unlikely of comebacks against Lowestoft in the FA Vase semi-finals last year.

Chandler, who knows all about Vase success, having scored the winning goal in the 2002 final when Whitley beat Tiptree 1-0, has sent out a rallying call in the north-east.


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The Lowestoft squad flew from Stansted to Newcastle early this morning hoping there won't be a repeat of their performance in the north east at the same stage of the competition last year.

Last season the north Suffolk made the most of an early sending off in the home leg to open up a 4-0 lead, however, a fired up Whitley scored three times within the opening 18 minutes at Hillheads to leave Lowestoft rocking.

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The Trawler Boys clung in there until half-time and regrouped to keep a second half clean sheet and scrape through to Wembley 4-3 on aggregate.

With Newcastle United not in action tomorrow due to international fixtures, a bumper crowd of up to 3,000 is expected at Hillheads and the Whitley boss is hoping his crowd can once again play the role of the proverbial 12th man.

Chandler said: “There was a massive crowd there last year when we were 4-0 down and those 2,000 people helped us get 3-0 within 20 minutes, and they got louder and louder and that was a great plus for us.

“There seems to be more going on, more of an atmosphere around the ground and everyone is getting behind us. We want the same this Saturday and for as many people as possible to get down to Hillheads and support us.”

Meanwhile, Whitley Bay have signed 29-year-old centre-forward Adam Johnston from Durham City this week and he will go straight into the squad for tomorrow's match.

After resigning Johnston four years after he left the club, Chandler said: “He is a good player, quick, direct, good in the air and scores lots of goals, from both inside and outside the box. Everybody knows him and knows how good he is so it has lifted everyone.”

Durham waived the seven-day notice which allowed Johnston to sign ahead of the FA's Friday noon deadline and make him eligible to play in the Vase.

Johnston broke his leg towards the end of last season, but returned to the game in November and since then has shown that he has not lost his goalscoring ability.

Whitley will make late decisions on defender Mark Taylor and winger Chris Fawcett who have suffered injuries in recent games.

Location: Coastal town in north Tyneside, nine miles from Newcastle and currently undergoing a �60m regeneration

Population: 35,000

Nicknames: Seahorses, The Bay

Colours: Blue and white stripes (home), white (away)

League: Currently sixth in Northern League Division One (step five).

FA Vase history: Beat Essex side Tiptree United in the 2002 final at Villa Park, beaten in the semi-finals on two other occasions. Back in the 1960s they lost twice in the final fours of the old FA Amateur Cup, the predecessor of the FA Vase

FA Cup history: Reached the third round in 1990 where they were beaten by Rochdale

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